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.

Monday, August 18, 2008

FO: Sampler Baby Blanket

Yarn: Plymouth Encore in grey, dark grey, brown, and cream
Needles: US 9 (which, in retrospect, was too big)
Patterns Used (four squares, one of each color for each pattern):
  • Plain stockinette squares
  • Using 100 Afghan Squares to Knit by Debbie Abrahams, I knit the "Sea Wall" basket weave and "Twine" cables patterns
  • "Embossed Twining Vine Leaf" from Barbara Walker
I've already posted about this blanket a couple of times, so I don't have much more to say. This was the very first project I ever started, and after a few months I was more than ready to put this in a basket and never look back. I am very grateful to the Webs podcast - while doing the Babette crochet-along, they suggested doing a baby blanket if a full afgan was too much - and Project Spectrum Air, which convinced me to pull it out again. I'm not sure who will be the lucky baby - they may not yet be conceived - but I think it will make someone else very happy someday.

I am still working on baby blanket #2 - that one will be made of Celtic-style cabled squares.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Two New COs

First up is a lace scarf I cast on at the end of July with the intent of finding a little lace project that would take one skein of sock yarn (since I had this luscious yarn in my stash) that would be ideal for summer travel knitting. This pattern fit the bill quite nicely, but I felt myself strangely not interested in knitting while I was in Hawaii. (Go figure! I guess the water was calling.) Last week, I said here that I was most likely going to frog this ... but I can't. After a few weeks apart, I could look at it with new eyes, and I think I'm in love again.

Pattern: Road Not Taken Scarf by Lisa Lloyd
Yarn: Sundara sock yarn in Burnt Cranberry
Needles: US size 6

Last week, I also said it was time to cast on for the Feather & Fan shawl I've been preparing for for sometime. A year or two ago, I saw pictures of Hello Yarn’s Handspun Feather and Fan Shawl and fell so in love with it that I started collecting handspun yarn with the plan of making something similar for myself someday. I saved the project for Project Spectrum Water, since the yarn I collected was in blues and purples, but also because of the wave motif in the feather & fan lace pattern. I decided to knit the Pacific Waves Shawl pattern, because I think I will really like the way an L-shaped shawl fits around the shoulders. Last weekend I cast on - no mean feat, that’s 541 stitches.

Pattern: Pacific Waves Shawl by Danielle Miner
Yarn: Sock Hop handspun by Crown Mountain Farms in 5 colorways
Needles: US size 8

As of today, I’ve completed 24 rows of the shawl. I like the way it’s shaping up - it’s very cool to see how the center decreases every other row are making a nice “V” - but I have to confess I’m unsure about the color combination. I can't decide - are the changing colors working up to be a lovely way to bring out the wave shape, or is the combination somehow excruciatingly 70s?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Recent FOs

My knitting has been a bit scattered since I finished the Icy Shetland Triangle in June. (I did block the three shawls, but haven't had photo sessions with them yet).

I like having knitting projects that are portable, because I knit away from home a lot - in the car (when I'm the passenger, of course), when I'm hanging with friends, and during several Wednesday meetings at work. I also want projects that are easy to memorize, because a lot of the time, I have to concentrate on something besides my knitting.

With Project Spectrum Air happening over the months of June & July, I decided to pull out the sampler blanket project that I put in the bottom of my stash bins over a year ago. Because this is the first project I ever knit, I am not into knitting it any more, so I decided to take the 25 squares I had already knit, finish off seven more, and make two baby blankets with 16 squares each. The grey & cream (& brown) colors were a perfect match for PS Air, and working on squares would be a portable little project good for summertime knitting. Except - each square requires closely following a pattern, so it turned out to be less convenient than I thought. I am happy to say I just finished sewing up one blanket, and have four more squares to knit for blanket #2.

So I've done a slew of quick little, portable projects. Many of which are actually good for Project Spectrum Water, which just started August 1. I finished the Falling Leaves Shawl:

And knit a Foliage Hat out of the same yarn (Berrocco Ultra Alpaca in Oceanic Mix) to match:

I found that the Ultra Alpaca was not as suited to the pattern as the Malagbrigo. It was way too long. After finishing the hat, I had to pick out the cast off, rip back the ribbing and a lace repeat, and then reknit the ribbing.

I knit a Scrunchable Scarf and a pair of mittens (cobbled together my own design) out of Malabrigo Chunky in the Vaa colorway to match the Foliage Hat I made for myself:

And a quick little Pro Bono hat in naturally dyed handspun from Tactile Fiber Arts:

I also was out of town for almost two weeks. I took along two one-skein lace scarf projects but was not engaged by either of them. And frankly, Hawaii is not conducive to knitting - I was either swimming, taking pictures, or reading (a lovely vacation indeed). I have already frogged the one I was trying to design and I suspect the other one will follow. Also, I frogged Birch - I knew I couldn't make it into what I wanted it to be. I do love the Morehouse Merino Lace yarn with the fern leaf lace pattern, so expect they will be paired again at some point.

So, the only WIP I have going right now is the baby blanket #2. I need a portable, easy to memorize project. Which means, ladies and gentlemen, that it is time to cast on for the Great Feather & Fan Shawl Project of 2008.