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.