Thursday, July 26, 2007

Knitting Classes

In the last week, I took two knitting classes. First, a Continental Knitting ("picking" rather than "throwing") class at one of my favorite local yarn shops, Acorn Street Shop. Once I got the hang of it, I really liked knitting this way (so efficient! so easy to switch from knit to purl! puts the left-hand to work, giving my right a break!). I'm pretty pleased with how the swatch I knit in class looks - the tension is mostly nice and even, although the ribbing looks pretty bad:

Despite my fondness for the above swatch, I have been a little too scared to try picking with any of my works in progress because I'm afraid my tension may be very different than what I've already knit. Perhaps I can pull out the blanket square that I put aside several weeks back and give that a try. Hmm, or start a new square altogether.

There were only three of us in the class and we progressed so quickly that we were able to try some two-color knitting by the end of the class. I'd never knit with more than one color in a row before - dang, I'm going to want to try Fair Isle now.

Then, I took a morning off work on a lovely sunny Seattle summer day, and took the ferry to Bainbridge Island to take a class at Churchmouse Yarns and Teas. What a fabulous yarn shop! It's fairly large with big windows in front, cozy places to knit, an excellent selection of yarn, and serves and sells tea. Although my commute there was about two hours (drove to work, parked, bus to the ferry, ferry across the Sound, walked up to the shop), I am so in love with the place that I'm sure I'll be back. (I think that they will host tea parties - perhaps for my birthday?) I got there a little early and they let me in to fondle and purchase yarn before the class started.

Handmaiden Sea Silk yarn (70% Silk, 30% Seacell) yarn, which I think is fingering weight? The skeins above are in what I think is the "Lily Pond" colorway, but it wasn't labeled, so I'm not sure.

I've been wanting to knit with Sea Silk yarn for some time, and the opportunity finally arose: a class on how to knit the Tuscany Shawl. Although I'm in the middle of a lace project right now, I'd never knit a triangular shawl before, and since the designer herself, Amy R. Singer, was teaching, I jumped on the opportunity. Amy was quite friendly and fun in person and taught us lots of cool tricks to make the knitting easier - shortcuts so that we wouldn't need the pattern, a way to rip back without things falling all apart (I've already tried this one), and my favorite: a way to loosen then tighten the decreases so that the stitches lay flat. Very cool trick!

The first twenty rows or so of the shawl, which I knit in the class.

Unfortunately, my counts are off right now, and I think I'm going to have to rip back some more...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Travel Knitting

I recently traveled for about a week and a half. I made progress on the Chevron Scarf:

13 inches in. That's somewhere between one-fifth and one-sixth done, depending on how long it ends up being.

After knitting and blocking the swatch while traveling, I finally cast on the Kimono Shawl:

I'm almost done with the first repeat. I was actually a few rows closer when I realized that I missed a yarn over - 4 rows back. Aarggh! I hadn't put a lifeline in, because I was planning to finish the first repeat first.

I attempted to fix it by dropping four stitches back the four rows, but that made it worse. I tabled it until the trip was over and brought it to my knitting mentor. His verdict was: tink the four rows. I did this last night, but after purling a row to get me all caught up and clean, I found - a missing yarn over! So, one more row of tinking to fix that, and then I'll be ready to move forward again.

Oh, well, it's my first lace project. I didn't expect to be an expert!

Gift Yarn

My parents recently took a trip to eastern Turkey. They lived and worked in Turkey almost 40 years ago, but had never been to eastern Turkey. They still have some friends they are in touch with, who they got to see again. I am very happy they are enjoying their retirement well.

Sheep and Big Mountain, 6/8/2007

My mother took this picture in Turkey, so I'm afraid I'm not sure which mountain this is. I think the picture is gorgeous, and of course, the sweet sheep appeal to the fiber lover that I have become. Speaking of fiber, before they left on their trip, they asked me what I wanted them to get me as a gift. I thought about the gorgeous Turkish rugs that are made there, and the yarn I have that is made in Turkey, so I asked for yarn.

They brought me this:

They were told it was Angora Goat Mohair. It's natural, no dyes.

And also this:

Silk thread used for weaving. It's multiple strands, so I'm not sure it's something I can ever use - but pretty cool, eh?

They also gave me this:

A simple drawstring cotton bag with Turkish block print. I immediately filled it with my gift yarn, so it has become a new knitting bag. The design is of Hittite origin!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Knit Picks Score

More yarn arrived.

Gloss fingering weight yarn, 70% merino and 30% silk, in Burgundy

Alpaca Cloud lace weight yarn, 100% alpaca, in Iris Heather

Shadow lace weight 100% merino in Vineyard and Sunset Heathers

I balled up four skeins of the Burgandy. This may sound weird, but it smells good. I think it's the silk.

I love my ball winder.

I cast on and knit a swatch.

Kimono Shawl from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls. If this looks familiar, that's because I tried it once already in a different yarn - only to realize I did not have near enough of the gray alpaca to make a shawl.

I knit the upper half in US size 6 needles, the lower half in US size 5 needles. I'm not sure I can see the difference, but I'd love opinions on which size needles to use.

Socks that Rock Score

My yarn arrived.

Socks That Rock mediumweight 100% merino wool in Nodding Violet, Thistle, Lagoon, and Rolling Stone colorways

I took a lot of pictures.

Thistle and Nodding Violet

Rolling Stone and Lagoon

(This is really just the tip of the iceberg. See more pics on my Flickr.

I wound up some balls with my new ball winder and swift set.

Nodding Violet and Thistle

Lagoon and Rolling Stone

I cast on and started knitting.

Chevron Scarf from Joelle Holverson's Last Minute Knitted Gifts, knit in STR Nodding Violet and Thistle