Sunday, February 24, 2008

Arctic Diamonds

Pattern: Arctic Diamonds Stole
by Donna Druchunas - Interweave Knits Winter 2006
Yarn: Alpaca With a Twist - Fino
70% baby alpaca/30% silk
875 yds/100 gr (3.5 oz)
color Evergreen
Needles: KnitPicks Options circular size 4
This was a truly enjoyable knit. I was ready to be done with it by the time I was finished, but the actual knitting was a pleasure. I knitted 7 lengthwise pattern repeats instead of 5 and only knit 4 repeats across the width instead of 5 and wound up with a 21" x 73" shawl. Oddly the width is the same as listed in the pattern. I wouldn't mind reknitting this one day in the Gems Pearl called for in the pattern (if I ever run across any!).
The only other change was that I used SSK decreases instead of the K2tog tbl - not because I felt it better (what do I know?), but because I found it easier and there were lots of them!
I did a little calculating (because I'm like that) and figured, counting the casting on, knitting, and frogging of the ill-fated VLT design, this yarn has been my companion since Jan. 1. That's relaxation and contentment for just 47 cents a day! You can't ask for better than that and I have a wonderful, warm shawl at end.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Plenty of yarn

The bottomless ball of Fino held on and I finished up the Arctic Diamonds shawl with a comforting amount leftover. The needles are empty for the first time in a long while.

I soaked the shawl for a good long time while I went out on this bleak, rather cold February day and got my walk in around the cul-de-sac. One of the neighbors had a fire going and it smelled woodsy and warm.

Back inside, I pinned out the shawl and it's there on the floor now drying. I expect it will be dry and worn tomorrow. Time to find a different string!

Monday, February 18, 2008

FO at last

Pattern: Dublin Bay Socks (pdf link)
Yarn: Fortissima Colori - 210m/50 gr
75% wool/25% nylon
less than 2 balls - color 494 (camo??)
Needles - Size 1 Boye cheapie dpns
I pulled this yarn out just before the new year to have a portable project and something fairly mindless. Since I was not thrilled with the yarn color (as in "I can't believe I bought this!"), and often had more interesting projects to work on, these socks seemed to take forever to finish. I think they'll be comfortable and serviceable, but I won't be looking for this yarn ever again.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Piecework Pincushion Challenge

Finishing. The bane of my needlework life. I never feel like my finishing work enhances the end product! I'm pretty sure this is why I prefer Hardanger pieces. Cut 'em out and you're done; no finishing. And knitted shawls? Bind 'em off and you're done; no seaming and no finishing. None of that tedious work that can turn a heretofore pleasing piece of stitching into a dissapointment.

My Hedebo heart pincushion is finished. I still have some write-up work to do, but the needlework is done. I'd say I'm 80% satisfied. I was able to complete it, so that makes me feel good and the idea I had at the outset (to make it into a little ottoman of sorts) actually worked out, so I'm pleased with that part as well.

And really! Did I really expect 100% satisfaction?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Feel the promise of a warm day

I am almost finished with the sixth repeat on this Arctic Diamonds shawl and was beginning to feel a bit peevish with it. I still find the knitting of it quite relaxing, but the eye does tend to wander to other patterns. And that unending ball of yarn? Still LOTS left! It's amazing.

Temperatures have been chilly but still rather mild around here (jonquils have been seen blooming already) so today I wore the Kimono shawl. My first lace knit and my first outing with blocking, it is probably longer than I would have made it had I known just how long it would end up being. But today as I wore it, I realized I really liked it being that long, so my goodwill toward this green mass was restored.

It's pictured here with the wrapper from some Valentine candy which encourages me to "Feel the promise of a warm day". Very nice, don't you think? I believe I can feel the promise this soft green wrap will hold. I will keep knitting at least one more repeat.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Laugh Often, Love Much

This year's Valentine treats - Dove Dark Chocolate hearts - fit nicely into little knitted bags. [pattern from Dec. 2005 "I'm Knitting As Fast As I Can"]

I found some nice little charms that say "Laugh Often" on one side and "Love Much" on the other and just sewed them near the top edge.

Will you be my Valentine?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

a tatted heart

Another of the projects from The Pile - a tatted heart incorporating buttons.

The copy of the pattern shows that I printed it out in January 2004 - four years ago! I'd love to link you to the pattern, but the link no longer works and I was unable to find anything on the pattern or the contributor.

That's a shame, because I sure wanted to e-mail and thank this person for all the FUN I had making it. The pattern had no errors and was very clearly written.

I need to go now and paw through the button tin some more - or maybe try red string with white buttons, or ecru with pearl buttons.......

ETA: found pattern again here

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Everlasting Gobstopper

I seem to be knitting with the yarn equivalent of the Everlasting Gobstopper! I knit and knit and knit on my green Arctic Diamonds and the ball of yarn never gets smaller. At least it seems that way. I certainly think at this point that I have enough for the sixth repeat. And these are 64-row repeats!

I reduced the pattern to only 4 repeats across the width instead of the five in the pattern because I didn't think I'd have enough yarn. I guess I was wrong!!

Roald Dahl's Everlasting Gobstoppers were for children "with very little pocket money". I think that's an additional lure for me and lace knitting. You can get a lot of yarn and lot of knitting out of a relatively small expenditure. I know this purchase is sure proving that true.

PS: Look! My narcissus bloomed!! (They smell awful!)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

the Hedebo heart

According to Carolyn Ambuter in her (huge and wonderful) book, "The Open Canvas", Hedebo* has passed through three stages of development. Embroidery in the first period [1760-1820] was not as open or delicate as that done later. Opened shapes were patterned after leaves and flowers on the wood carvings of the furniture in the embroiderer's surroundings and the open spaces were filled with withdrawn thread embroidery. Opened shapes (semicircles, hearts, crescents, leaves) were outlined in chain stitch. My first attempt is in this style.

The second period [1820-1850] saw more formal squares much like reticella or Ruskin lace and less surface embroidery.

From 1850 through the turn of the century, round and open shapes were filled with lacy designs as in reticella and on finer linen, often with stamped-on designs, and used for table linens and ladies' collars and blouses.

*pronounced "hay'-the-bow"; a contraction of heather born - people who live on the heath. This delicate lace embroidery was done by people whose principle work was digging and drying peat.

Carolyn Ambuter, "The Open Canvas"

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Green thumb?

A couple of green things are growing around here.
All my many aunts (and sadly none are still living) had prodigious green thumbs. They could grow anything - and did. They could grow from seeds, from cuttings, from pressing a leaf down into the soil. They were amazing. I've never enjoyed such talent. (But I've also never had much of an inclination.)
I received a "kit" of narcissus bulbs at Christmas. I even neglected that for several weeks, before trying it out. It grows at warp speed. Every day it is several inches taller and it looks like it will actually bud and bloom! Now my aunts could enjoy the blooms and then keep the plant alive through the years, probably even thinning out the bulbs and sharing. I doubt mine make it that far.

The Arctic Diamonds green shawl grows, too. I have 4 of the 5 repeats completed. But LOOK how much yarn is left. When I finish the fifth repeat, I'll try to determine if I have enough to do an extra. It would be nice to make it a little longer.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Bloggers Silent Poetry Reading

We cannot make bargains for blisses,
Nor catch them like fishes in nets;
And sometimes the thing our life misses
Helps more than the thing which it gets.
For good lieth not in pursuing,
Nor gaining of great nor of small,
But just in the doing, and doing
As we would be done by, is all.

from the poem "Nobility"
Alice Cary (1820-1871)

Friday, February 1, 2008

A little red thread for a change

The first day of the month at work. Financial reports to prepare and everybody seems to want something. Thank goodness I could come home and play with a little string!

I'm in love with this new string. It's cheap crochet thread - Coats & Clark "Royale" Gemini double strand color 0446 burgundy and victory red; very Valentine-y.

I started off making little drawstring bags thinking I could fill them with some candies. I used, once again, Susan's felted gift bag pattern (without the felting, of course). I can't get to it from her current blog. Luckily I had saved a link in my Favorites to her previous blog. You can see one of mine standing up there in the background awaiting the draw cord. I forgot to make the cord before casting on for the next plaything which is a lace edging.

What do I intend to DO with this lace edging? I have no idea. It's the hem of the lace linen tank from the Spring/Summer 2007 Vogue Knitting. I don't have enough experience to know how this thread might work for this pattern (which calls for Euroflax linen). My guess is that it would be heavy, probably not launder well and possibly bleed in the wash. I only have one ball of the thread and that couldn't possibly be enough. Mostly I'm just knitting it because I wanted to see how it would look and find it relaxing. Works for me.