Thursday, January 31, 2008
I just use my "Patented Hatch Mark System" to keep up with my progress. A little tick mark beside the line number to show it has been completed. A little, gentle reminder via Post-It note when it is put away.
I've gotten quite a bit of wear out of my shawls this week. As of today I've worn three different ones to work: the Kimono shawl, the Alpine from VLT, and a Swallowtail. The weather hasn't been that cold this week and the shawls have provided just enough warmth around my shoulders and neck. And you know? I think I feel taller in shawl!
(You can see a bit of my new, red string there in the background. More Valentine fun.)
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Well a little more snow arrived here in the South, not too much, but enough to prove a backdrop for a WIP picture of the Arctic Diamonds shawl. Looks like a rumpled mess, huh? (You should see my hair!) This is proving a welcome companion for this cold, indoor weekend. All wrong side rows are purled and stitch count remains constant. Hopefully as long as I keep my chart marked properly, I won't get too far off course. I've still not used all the yarn frogged from the first pattern tried with this yarn. I'm liking the looks of this pattern much better anyway.
I haven't abandoned my Hedebo heart, but I need to make a few decisions as to final form before I proceed any further.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Threads have been cut and removed. In this case, I cut and removed two, left four, cut two, and so on both vertically and horizontally. Next I worked the mosaic filling stitch. Moyra McNeill describes it as "basically a square, bounded on each side by blocks of 5 satin stitches over 4 threads".
In that it is 5 satin stitches over 4 threads, it is very like the kloster blocks in Hardanger, but here it is done as a pulled-thread stitch. Pulling each satin stitch tightly compresses the 4 threads underneath and opens up the square's center a bit more.
The next step deals with the areas within the squares. But that will have to wait.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
From one extreme to the other. Yes, that's the way things often go here at stringplay. Yesterday was thick, brightly-colored string and today is thinner, shinier, and all white.
One can only knit cotton for so long before hands and wrists complain.
There are many, MANY different kinds of string in the world. Heck, there are even many, MANY different kinds of string in my house. Still it seems whenever I want to do something, I'm at least one string short of a full line (in mind as well as inventory!).
Today I wanted to try a technique that called for #50 DMC Cordonnet. I had sizes 10, 20, 30, 70, 80 and 100. I even had some size 50 but not in white. My stitch shop doesn't carry it. The big box craft stores certainly don't carry it. And mail-ordering a $3 ball of string is hardly instant gratification. So I pulled out some other books and settled on a different project.
According to the sales receipt, I've been wanting to try this - Hedebo embroidery - since 1998. Ten years seems like a nice round number, no? Time to give it a try. It only calls for three different sizes of pearl cotton.
You can see faint signs of a hoop being used. My instructions called for using one. I've said before I don't care for hoops, so I took it off shortly after beginning. I'm working the buttonhole edge around the outline (which you can see a bit better if you click on the picture to enlarge). Later I'm to cut and withdraw threads from the center and do some needleweaving. And there may be some tiny beads involved. It's all experimental right now. To my eye the threads seem a little heavy, but perhaps later, when all elements are present, it will be more pleasing. Or tossed. We'll see.
Friday, January 11, 2008
If this group won't put the play back in stringplay, I don't know what would! Aren't these colors great?!
I decided that part of my problems with the lace stole was inability to concentrate. It is January after all; my busiest and most hectic time at work.
Now why these little dishcloth patterns - essentially still lace - are easier is a puzzle, but that's the case. I did one of the Little House ones in October and immediately wanted more colorful string. By the time I acquired it, the itch was gone and I had moved on to another project. But pulling it all out and starting some more was just what I need right now.
That orange one ("Sunburst" according to the label) is so warm. It may be my favorite. The pattern is Lacy Mock Cable and would make a very nice scarf I think. In fact......with a few more repeats it might make a very nice lace shawl!
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
The shawl from "Victorian Lace Today" which I described as a "nice relaxing knit" kicked me good, not once but twice. The first hiccup I had decided I could live with, so I continued knitting. But the second was a complete disaster. I must have gotten off a half repeat. At least that is all I can imagine.
So with over a quarter of the repeats done, I frogged the whole thing and rewound the yarn.
Needless to say the shine was off that pattern, and I've decided to go with a different one altogether and have chosen Artic Diamonds Stole from the Winter '06 IW Knits. Seeing this one really inspired me.
The first step here at stringplay? ENLARGE the chart! And maybe if I keep better notes, I won't lose my place this time. Fingers crossed.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
The baby gown is done. The fun smocking part has been done for some time, but only today did I manage time at home long enough to set up the sewing machine and complete the construction.
The sewing is very simple but it always amazes me just how long it can take; ironing, some handstitching, and, of course, the photo shoot!
I had planned a very basic geometric smocking design in a light blue which I imagined either a boy or girl could wear. When I thumbed through my notebook of smocking plates, however, I found this little one of little lambs and couldn't resist!
It was fun and I think next time I'll try it in batiste.
"Which is the way to Baby-land? Anyone can tell; Up one flight, To your right. Please ring the bell.
What can you see in Baby-land? Little folks in white - Downy heads, Cradle-beds, Faces pure and bright."
excerpt from Baby-Land by George Cooper
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
So it might be surprising to see I do, indeed, have a recipe box to link to Kay and Ann's Recipe Show 'n Tell contest.
I married in 1975 and this faux wood box was a shower present. Although the hinges are both broken and I practically never use any of the recipes inside, it has been a fixture on my limited-space counter top for 32 years. It was given to me by a childhood friend and we still see each other twice a year on our birthdays to stay in touch. That alone seems reason enough for me to keep it.
There isn't a single recipe of my mother's in there. She's a better cook than I am, but she is not overly enthusiastic about it either. She did once cut out a recipe from the newspaper for cornbread dressing because it was the closest she had ever seen to how she makes it. I may have made it once. She always makes the dressing.
Enough blather. I'm sure (given the above info) you must be eager to know my recipe. So here I share:
1 box Betty Crocker Pound Cake Mix
1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 or 4 eggs
1/2 or 3/4 cup buttery-flavored oil
1 8-oz. package sour cream
1/2 cup chopped pecans
 Combine cake mix, sugars, and oil with eggs, one at a time. Beat well and after each egg add some sour cream.  Pour half of batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan and sprinkle following mixture on top: 3 tsp. brown sugar - 1 tsp. ground cinnamon - chopped pecans Pour in remaining batter and place in COLD oven. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour. Let cool in pan no longer than 5 minutes then turn out to cool.
*If you are anywhere close to my age, you've already associated the recipe's name to Rowan & Martin's "Laugh-In" TV show.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Happy New Year! Welcome 2008.
I don't generally make resolutions; at least not in the sense of formally writing them down. I might have a general idea of something I'd like to aspire to reach or accomplish. And everybody wants to lose at least the extra holiday pounds gained eating Seven-Layer Cookie Bars for breakfast, huh?
Last night I finally got to start my new shawl (yarn bought back in early November is Alpaca With a Twist - Fino in Evergreen). I'm doing "Miss Lambert's Shetland pattern for a shawl" - p 50 in "Victorian Lace Today". This will be my first time at trying to knit an edging onto a shawl, but all that is so far into the future that I don't even need to think of it for some time.
It's listed as intermediate lace I suppose because of that knitted-on edging. The center is a nice, relaxing knit of a 6-stitch repeat over 8 rows with all wrong sides purled, and because there are only 70 stitches, it moves along from row to row quickly.
The day began with an unexpected trip out and I was a little perturbed (understatement) at not getting to just stay in and knit. It's true, I think, that music soothes the savage beast. There was a special program on the radio, New Year's Day from Vienna, with Strauss waltzes and polkas and included one "Enjoy Life" which I quickly adopted as a New Year's Resolution.
Knitting needles click; a cup of tea scents the air. The new shawl begins!
Kimono shawl haiku from "Folk Shawls" - my first lace shawl.