Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Great Feather & Fan Shawl Project of 2008

Seeing as today is the last day of 2008, I decided I really needed to get this shawl photographed and posted to the blog.


Pattern: Pacific Waves Shawl by Danielle Miner
Yarn: Sundara Aran Silky Merino in Charcoal over Blue Lagoon
Needles: US size 10 / 6 mm
On Ravelry

I originally started this shawl in Crown Mountain Sock Hop, but I didn't like how it knit up. Re-done in Sundara Aran Silky Merino in Charcoal over Blue Lagoon gave me pretty much exactly the shawl I wanted. The yarn is gorgeous, soft, and warm. And the color, totally delicious.


I was so delighted when I finished it that I started wearing it every where even though I hadn't blocked it. I think I've decided I like it as it is. I wouldn't mind if the scalloped edges would lay a little flatter, but I think blocking would stretch it out too much and make it much too large for me.

Ripples Waves

The other thing I really love about this pattern in the L-shape. There is a nice point that hangs down the back, but generous arms that lay across the front too. No slipping or bunching. I'm going to work on turning some of my favorite patterns into L-shaped shawls, I think.

Turbulence Point

A big winner in my book.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Knitting Calendar

And now for something completely different. I've turned some of my knitting photography into a calendar that is available on my CafePress store. A few of my favorite shots:

I apologize that it is so close to the new year - typically I make my calendars by the beginning of November - but the demands of grad school meant that I couldn't get to it until my break started. I plan to make greeting cards with the same images, but it may be spring break before I can really get to them.

Xmas Knitting

A series of snowstorms has swept through Seattle during the last two weeks. Since the city isn't well equipped in the ways of plows, and I have a lot of anxiety about driving in the snow (due to a near miss two years ago), I haven't been able to mail Xmas knitting packages yet. However, I have been able to finish a slew of small projects. I'm taking a risk that my family might see this before they get their mail, but I don't think they really read my blog. So, hats for three generations: my father, brother, and nephew.

Christmas Hats

Pattern: Koolhaas by Jared Flood (pictured right)
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Peat Mix
Needles: US size 6 & 8
On Ravelry

I love how this hat looks, but found the knitting to be a little fiddly, with all of the cable crosses. I was not able to master knitting without a cable needle, and hope to if I knit this again.

Pattern: Turn A Square by Jared Flood (pictured center)
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Peat Mix and Charcoal Mix colorways, held doubled
Needles: US size 10 / 6.0 mm (9 / 5.5 mm for ribbing)
On Ravelry

I really like this pattern, as you'll see. I like knitting doubled; it goes very quickly and makes a warmer hat. The two colors are both dark and that makes the striping very subtle.

Pattern: Pro Bono by Angelina Fagan (pictured left)
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Peat Mix and Charcoal Mix colorways, held doubled
Needles: US size 9 / 5.5 mm
On Ravelry

Another Pro Bono, a simple and quick ribbed hat that can expand with a growing head. I like this pattern but think it's just too long. I'm hoping the hat can be warn with the brim turned up because I really don't feel like ripping out and shortening this hat before I can actually put it in the mail.

Darkside Cowl

Pattern: Darkside Cowl by Sarah Fama
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk in Navy
Needles: US size 7 / 4.5 mm
On Ravelry

I knit a quick cowl for my SIL. This is a nice ribbed pattern which gives the cowl some structure. The yarn is soft, however, just like the Ultra Alpaca, I found it to be sheddy. Is all alpaca yarn like this? Because I'm not too fond of the shedding.

Scarf & Hat Set

Pattern: Kim's Hats by Kim Hamlin
Yarn: Filatura Di Crosa 127 Print in 33 - Dark Grey
Needles: US 6 & 7
on Ravelry

I knit the hat to go with the garter-stitch scarf my partner knit for our friend Chris. The yarn struck me as a bit scratchy and I had a little trouble getting into the project (I wanted to make it warmer but did not have enough yarn), but once I finally got it going, I really like the project. It was really fun to have the splashes of color show up in seemingly random fashion as I knit - and no pooling! This took a little bit over one skein of yarn.

I've been knitting somethings for myself, too, but I'll wait to finish before posting more.

A Baby Shower Set

I'm hoping to get caught up on my knitblogging during my winter break from school and work, although a couple FOs still need photoshoots. In any case, a little set for a baby shower:

Shower Gift

Hat Pattern: Baby Watchcap by Nikol Lohr
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Mediumweight in Lagoon
Needles: US size 4 / 3.5 mm
on Ravelry

I knit with smaller yarn and needles than the pattern called for. I swatched in the 3x3 rib and found gauge based on an average of the swatch relaxed and stretched fully out. I cast on 90 stitches and added a few extra plain knit/purl rows during the early decrease rows to compensate for the thinner yarn.

Mitten Pattern: Baby Mittens by Malin Nilsson
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Mediumweight in Lagoon
Needles: US size 2.5 / 3.0 mm
on Ravelry

My gauge was different from the pattern, so I CO 26 stitches for the ribbing and increased to 33 stitches for the hand.

Both were quick to knit up and so very cute when done. The STR is a good yarn choice. I like the Baby Watchcap pattern, because the ribbing can expand with a growing baby head, making the hat longer wearing than many baby knits, and the Baby Mittens are very cute.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Project Spectrum - Water

Of all the elements, I connect most with Earth - but when it comes to Project Spectrum, Water blows the others away. First, clearly I like taking pictures of water:

PS Elements - Water #1

1. Wahkeena Falls, 2. Bridal Veil River, 3. Crescent Beach, 4. Cannon Beach, 5. Sea Stacks, 6. Haystack Rock, 7. Rain, 8. River Reflection, 9. River & Rocks, 10. Tidepools, 11. Imbolc Sunset, 12. Sunset over Puget Sound, 13. Hanakapi'ai Beach, 14. Sunset, 15. Sol Duc River, 16. Sea Stacks, 17. Sea Stacks, 18. Sea Stars, 19. Beach, 20. Deception Pass, 21. Deception Pass Eastward, 22. Kure Beach, NC, 23. Mt. Rainier Reflection, 24. Rainbow Falls, 25. Lake Crescent

PS Elements - Water #2

1. Great Egret, 2. Clear Water, 3. 520 Bridge Reflection, 4. From the Depths, 5. Swimming Upstream, 6. Straits of Juan de Fuca, 7. Straits of Juan de Fuca Panorama, 8. Tidal Flats, 9. Sea Scape, 10. Northwest Sunset, 11. Rising Tide, 12. Sun on Water, 13. Sea Stack at Sunset, 14. Sea Stack near Neah Bay, 15. Brilliant Sunset, 16. Washington State Ferry, 17. Canoe at Sunset, 18. Reflection, 19. Sunrise, 20. Sunrise, 21. Reflection, 22. After Sunset, 23. Multnomah Falls, 24. Horsetail Falls, 25. Columbia River Gorge

And just as clearly, especially when it comes to knitting, I love the colors blue and purple:

PS Elements - Water #3

1. Charcoal over Blue Lagoon, 2. Three Skeins, 3. Silky Wool, 4. Yarn and Leaves, 5. Needles and Leaves, 6. Tactile Fiber Arts Handspun, 7. Indigo-Dyed Super Sock Yarn, 8. Falling Leaves Lace, 9. Blueberry Hat, 10. Chevron Scarf Detail, 11. Chevron Scarf Folded, 12. Three Strands, 13. Blue Yarn Cake, 14. Purple Yarn Cake, 15. Knitted Utility Bags, 16. Oceanic Detail #2, 17. Lagoon, 18. Nodding Violet, 19. Side View 2, 20. Swatching for Aran-Style Bag, 21. Noro Kochoran, color #1, 22. Lavendar Bib, 23. Blue Varigated Bib, 24. Donegal Tweed, 25. Leaf Vine Baby Blanket

PS Elements - Water #4

1. Furrows, 2. Squoosh Dewberry, 3. Juno Regina, 4. Juno Regina, 5. 2x2 Ribbing, 6. Shetland Tied, 7. Shetland Triangle Detail, 8. Yarn Cake, 9. Pale Sky Over Sugared Violet, 10. Sidekick Again, 11. Lace Leaf Back, 12. Center Seam, 13. Lace Leaf, 14. Knit Picks Shadow, Doubled, 15. Malabrigo Delight, 16. Diving Deeper, 17. Feather and Fan Lace, 18. River, 19. River, 20. 10 Skeins, 21. Twisted, 22. Curves, 23. Sock Hop - In the Skies, 24. Sock Hop - San Francisco, 25. Sock Hop - A Hard Day's Night

Water was the months of August and September, so I am quite behind in posting my pictures. But better late than never, say I.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Project Spectrum Air

I realized that I've been delinquent about posting the second half of Project Spectrum Elements here on The Potential of Yarn. We've already seen Fire and Earth. June and July were dedicated to the element of Air.

PS Elements - Air

1. White Asters, 2. Seagull Riding the Thermals, 3. Rainbow at Sunset, 4. Clouds, 5. Salal Blossoms with Bee, 6. Dogwood, 7. Storm Clouds and Sun Breaks, 8. Chestnut Flower, 9. Storm Clouds, 10. White Cherry Tree, 11. Sunset Cloud, 12. View of the Olympic Penninsula, 13. White Cherry Blossoms, 14. Waxing Crescent Moon, 15. Tree & Sky, 16. White Clematis, 17. Sun Rays, 18. Sun & Sky, 19. White Dahlia, 20. Washington State Ferry, 21. Pali Ke Kua Beach Sunset, 22. White Dahlia, 23. Seagull, 24. White Rose, 25. Deception Pass

PS Elements - Air (Knitting)

1. Sampler Baby Blanket, 2. 20 Finished Squares, 3. Silk Lace, 4. Romney, 5. My First Handspun, 6. Two Singles, 7. More of My Handspun!, 8. My Handspun!, 9. Yarn Cake, 10. Pale Sky Over Sugared Violet, 11. Winter Sky, 12. Sock Hop - You Babe, 13. Ripples, 14. Ripples 2, 15. Fade Away, 16. Scarf Folded, 17. Stitch Detail, 18. Gift Yarn, 19. Celtic Plait Scarf, 20. Celtic Plait Scarf, 21. Schewe Baby Alpaca yarn, 22. Embossed Twining Leaves Blanket Square, 23. Chain Links Cables, 24. Bjars Hitches Cables, 25. St. Brigid Swatch

One of the cool things that happened during PS Air was that I learned to spin, as I've already described in detail here. (Sadly, not much spinning since then, although I have stashed some lovely hand-dyed fibers). I'm happy to report that I did finish the Sampler Baby Blanket during PSE Air. I do still have a stack of 12 blanket squares left over, so there will eventually be a second baby blanket.

And, in personal news, I started grad school a few weeks ago. I am now find my knitting time cut back rather severely, so this blog will probably be fairly quiet until June 2010. I'll still post as time allows.

Friday, September 26, 2008

CO: Juno Regina

The Sundara Love Group on Ravelry (where I spend far too much time) is hosting a Lace-along, also being called a Knit-and-crochet-along, or KACAL (pronounced cackle). I decided to take advantage of the community support to give knitting with Silk Lace a try.

Pattern: Juno Regina by Miriam Felton
Yarn: Sundara Silk Lace in Black over Fuchsia
Needles: Addi Lace Turbos in US size 3 / 3.25 mm
On Ravelry

I swatched both US size 4 and US size 3 needles. I thought the 3s were just a bit tighter and neater while still allowing for a light, lacy fabric. I've found the silk lace a challenge to knit with - so tiny, so little give - but am getting the hang of it and love to stroke the fabric I've created so far.

I've already made a couple of mods. First, I'm knitting a garter stitch border rather than a seed stitch one. The seed stitch was way too fiddly with silk lace! Second, since I want a wider stole (as opposed to a scarf), I've knit six repeats of Chart 2 rather than four. This is giving me an extra four lace diamonds in width. I'm now at the point where the diamond pattern starts moving inward and columns of yarnovers start appearing from the outside in.

This is my first Miriam Felton design. I have several of her shawls in my queue and am very excited to finally be knitting one!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

RIP Pacific Waves Shawl

I hate to do it, but I'm going to frog it.

I was so excited about this project. I stashed each skein of yarn like it was a jewel. Casting the shawl on was a reward. I was so looking forward to wearing it. I knit on it mostly monogamously for over a month, 69 freakin' rows, 32,705 stitches in fact. That's a lot of knitting, and a lot of time, and time is precious to me.

But I haven't liked it from the very beginning. (Why, oh why, did I not pay more attention to that?) One week after casting it on, I was questioning how it was working out. I frogged 19 rows and tried to improve upon it, but still wasn't really happy with it. The thing is, everyone else loves it. I've gotten compliments in person, on my blog, on Ravelry. I put it aside for a week and then looked at some of my pictures of it, and liked the pictures enough that I kept going, again.

I was so in love with the idea of this project, with both the yarn and the pattern, that I couldn't admit for the longest time that the shawl itself doesn't work for me. The color changes of the handspun yarn, which would be so lovely and gradual in a scarf or in socks, are creating vee-shaped stripes of color as I knit, which I don't like (although they are fun to photograph in detail). I also just don’t think the colors are working together, and I thought I would get a mostly blue shawl, but it's mostly brown. Maybe these pictures will help give a better sense of the full shawl:

I thought about giving it away, or selling it. But I spent too much on the yarn, and I love it too much, to give it away. And I'd have to charge a lot for the shawl to recoup my costs. I still love the yarn, I just think it deserves different patterns - possibly the Turn a Square Hat, some Mini Sweaters for the tree this holiday season, a nice, basic cowl, and a Baby Surprise Jacket or two (all Ravelry links). I still love the Pacific Waves Shawl pattern, and I want to try it again with different yarn. Perhaps my Sundara Aran Silky Merino in Charcoal over Blue Lagoon - I think the slightly variegated colorway will produce a nice wavy effect but still create a shawl that is basically one color. In fact, I've already swatched it.

What do you think of this swatch? Do you like it better with or without the purl ridge every fourth row?

Friday, September 12, 2008

FO: Tuscany Shawl

Here's the last of the three shawls I knit earlier this year that just recently had their photo shoot.

Pattern: Tuscany Shawl by Amy R. Singer
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss in Burgundy
Needles: Addi Lace Turbos in US Size 5 / 3.75 mm
Dates: March 19 - April 12, 2008
On Ravelry

This was another knit that I really enjoyed. (What can I say? I love knitting lace.) I used the same yarn as my Kimono Shawl (on Ravelry), as I had plenty left over. I really like the Knitpicks Gloss for lace - it's a fingering weight (although they now have a lace version) made of merino/silk, which is soft, warm, and lovely to knit with. It makes a shawl that is substantial without being heavy or too warm.

The pattern starts at the point of the shawl and works upward. I really like the shape of the shawl - a yarnover increase at each edge on every row makes a narrower traingle than four increases every other row (such as the Shetland Triangle and Lace Leaf Shawl that I just posted) and longer arms or ties on the shawl, as you can knid of see in the pictures just above. I think this shape is better suited for wearing.

It shape of the triangle - a broad canvas, rather than one split by a center column of yarnovers - also shows off the lace pattern quite nicely. I like how the columns of purls outline the shape of the leaves. I think the lace pattern is the same as the Embossed Leaves Socks and Lace Leaf Hat & Scarf (Ravelry links), although I haven't compared patterns to be sure.

Another gift that I'm saving for the holidays, so no further talk of who the recipient might be.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

FO: Lace Leaf Shawl

I enjoyed knitting this shawl.

Pattern: Lace Leaf Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark
Yarn: Knit Picks Shadow in Vineyard Heather, held doubled
Needles: Addi Lace Turbos in US Size 6 / 4.0 mm
Dates: April 14 to May 24 2008
On Ravelry

First, I loved the yarn. It's a lovely soft heathered merino. The recipient loves the color, and so do I - I have another shawl planned in this same Vineyard Heather color. I knit the shawl with the yarn held doubled, because I like lace in fingering weight, and I am happy about how it turned out.

Second, the pattern is a wonderful knit. I prefer to wear a shawl with some shoulder shaping, but for knitting, Evelyn A. Clark's triangular shawls are wonderful. I was able to memorize the pattern by about a third of the way through, so it became a very portable project.

I wanted to knit until the yarn was gone, and I did exactly that. I was knitting with three skeins, or 660 yards when doubled, and I ran out of yarn half the way through the edging. Personally, I like the look of a straight rather than pointed edge, so I called it good. I got 14 repeats and half the edging out of the 660 yards.

The shawl was a wedding gift for a friend of mine. I made her open the package at her reception so I could take a picture of her. (She's such a rock star, wearing black to her reception!)

Apparently, I also really, really enjoyed my photo shoot. There are even more pictures on my Flickr.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

FO: Icy Shetland Triangle

I finally had a photo shoot with the three shawls I knit earlier this year that I've blocked. So expect a few FO posts this week:

Pattern: Shetland Triangle by Evelyn A. Clark
Yarn: Sundara Sock Yarn in Pale Skies over Sugared Violet
Needles: US size 6 / 4.0 mm
Dates: May 4 to June 19 2008
On Ravelry

This shawl takes my breath away. I've loved the pattern from the moment I first saw it in print, and this is the second time I've knit it. It's a fantastically easy lace shawl pattern - the only reason it took me six weeks is because I was working on several other patterns at the same time. I highly recommend the Shetland Triangle to all. My only complaint is that triangular shawls do not fit around the shoulders very well, so I am thinking I'll design my own L-shaped shawl using the same lace repeat someday.

This yarn was a dream for lace. I really like fingering weight yarn for lace, and the superwash merino is soft and relaxed, not wiry like some other sock yarns I've knit with. Sundara dyes amazing semi-solid shades, with enough variation for some interest but not a multi-colored yarn that would overwhelm the lace.

This shawl is a gift, but the holidays are far enough away that I could not wait until the end of December to post it. Hopefully, if the recipient sees this, it will be a distant memory by the time the package is opened.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pacific Waves Shawl Try #2

Two weeks ago, I decided that the Pacific Waves Shawl (aka my Great Feather & Fan Shawl Project of 2008) I was working on was just too busy for me. Handspun yarn with color flecks and variations, changing the color every four rows, a purl ridge as part of the lace pattern ... it was just too much. So I took a big breath and a drink and frogged back to row five.

This is how it looked before.

Moving forward, this time I knit a stockinette-based version of the feather & fan lace pattern. (In general, I do prefer the version with the purl ridge, but the pattern is written stockinette, and as I said above, I didn't like how it was working out with the purl ridge.) I'm also knitting longer repeats of each color - at least 8, sometimes as many as 12 rows in one colorway before switching.

I prefer how it's looking now and it seems more cohesive to me. I'm still not quite certain about it though. I expected more blue overall - one of the colorways, San Francisco, is a lovely blue and brown combination which is knitting up more brown and less blue than I expected. I have some of the bright blue colorway called In the Skies, but those skeins are spun so much tighter than the other yarns, and the color is so much brighter, that I've decided not to use it.

I've finished 38 rows and have knit about 6 inches. The shawl is supposed to be 18 inches, so I'm about 1/3 of the length and am aiming for 120 rows at this point. I've got 6.85 oz (195 g) of the yarn left, or 458 yards, and I calculate that I've used 508 yards. I'm glad there is a Sock Hop update coming up soon, because I think I'm going to need another skein or two to make it.

Looking at these pictures has made me realize that I'd prefer more color similarity and don't really like all the stripes of color. Dang.