Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Idler

I've been a bit mentally consumed with that lovely swing seat from the previous post. Of course, with the heat, humidity, and mosquitoes, I'm sure life in a swing seat, at least in my backyard, would not be the blissful interlude that Alice Ashley enjoyed.

So instead I've taken to imagining myself there with the help of this relaxing video from the manufacturer of The Idler:

When I said the knitting was easy in that last post, I was using the adverb easy - without undue speed or excitement; without worry or care - just the way summer knitting should be, even if it cannot be done in an Idler.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

and the knitting is easy

I started to title this post "Summertime and the knitting is easy" and then I remembered that it isn't quite summer yet. Kind of hard to think of it as spring when it is already in the 90s. Whew.

I am really enjoying the Summer Mystery Shawlette so far. The tipping point for me in joining this knitalong was that this design is knit from the long bottom edge up to the top with each row getting a bit shorter than the one before.

Wish I could sit outside in a nice garden with a cool lemonade like Alice here. Don't you love this painting?

It is "Alice Ashley on a Green Seat" 1937 - oil by Donald Chisholm Towner and is the cover of the current Persephone Biannually.

Wherever you are, hope your knitting is easy and enjoyable.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Quintessential Lady of Her Era

The May/June issue of "Piecework" magazine is out. It has been for weeks and I'm just now mentioning it. It is (naturally) a fabulous issue with a focus on LACE.

There is an article on a bobbin-lace coverlet purchased and owned by Marian Anderson and now in the collection of The Lace Museum in Sunnyvale, CA. 86" x 72". Wow! That is a lot of bobbin lace.

There is a lovely Queen's Lace Doily by Ava T. Coleman. Sheri finished knitting it before I even got around to reading about it.

Donna Druchunas has an article entitled "Who Was Dorothy Reade?" which is adapted from her recent book "Successful Lace Knitting".

Santa brought me that book for Christmas. He must have noticed there was a shawl designed by Evelyn A. Clark? [if you scroll through the images at that Amazon link, it is the lovely black triangle] Smart Santa.

In January I had to frog a lace shawl. Pattern was fine, but it just wasn't meant to be. In trying to select a new project, I chose one from this book. NOT the EAC, sadly.

I have worked on this off and on since then. Mostly OFF. That little tag has my note of the needle size. It gets hidden away that much! It is a chore. I think the finished item will be just fine. In fact, thinking that - and the fact that I have over a third done and have already ripped out a 75% done shawl!! - is all that is keeping me returning.

I'm using the same needle tips for the Mystery Shawlette. I hope to alternate working on it and this project and dedicatedly returning to this one in between clues. Eventually it has to be done. Right?

The one thing I've learned about Dorothy Reade is that she LOVED k1tbl. Knitting through the back loop must have been her favorite stitch. ALL yarnovers are ktbl on the next row. ALL. Actually her favorite was k2tbl. She was quite adamant that this was the only correct opposite of k2tog.

Donna describes her as the quintessential lady of her era saying "she wore gloves and silk stockings, always carried a hankie and a roll of butter rum Life Savers in her purse, and ran an orderly home."

So far all we have in common is a fondness for butter rum Life Savers.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Magical Mystery Tour

Way back in the Dark Ages - dark ages being defined here as "before Ravelry" - I wanted to try knitting a lace shawl.

I am fairly certain that what prompted this was the "Flower Basket Shawl" by (who else?) Evelyn A. Clark that was in the Fall 2004 issue of Interweave Knits. [issue out of print, but available electronically - or single pattern from Fiber Trends at link above]

A triangular shawl where the stitch count changed all the time did not seem like a good first lace project. Also it was charted. Maybe there were line instructions, too. I can't remember. I was pretty stunned by the chart which made absolutely no sense to me.

I ended up going with the Kimono Shawl from Cheryl Oberle's "Folk Shawls" book. In retrospect a good choice. A rectangle with a constant stitch count and only one, repeated motif. What really motivated me was a knitalong. Wendy of Wendy Knits announced the Summer of Lace and started a Yahoo Group.

That is how I met Mary. Mary and I were the only two people in the group who chose the Kimono Shawl for our project and Mary, who has always been ahead of me technically, sent me a personal e-mail hello. I think the Summer of Lace was golden.

Well a lot has happened since that summer in 2005. Wendy has gone on to publish 5 books (or more) and many individual patterns and still finds time to blog regularly and churn out an amazing amount of knitting.

When I noticed she was hosting (is that the right term?) a Summer Mystery Shawlette, I wanted to join in, too. I wanted to relive the fun of the Summer of Lace. I've seen several mystery shawl knitalongs and truthfully haven't ever wanted to do one. I couldn't imagine putting the time and yarn involved into a project without knowing what it was going to look like when finished. What if I didn't like it?

But I generally like Wendy's things and I feel confident that I'll enjoy whatever she designs.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 17

Today is May 17, Norway's Constitution Day, an official national holiday there. There will be many parades, including one in Oslo where King Harald and Queen Sonja will exchange waves and greetings.
[Do go check out the lace on HM Queen Sonja's dress here.]

One of my favorite blogs is Britt Arnhild's and her post today shows her daughters and other family members in their bunads. Close-up photos of some lovely embroidery.

So Happy Constitution Day, Norway! I'm with you in spirit.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Summer Bag - Take Two

Remember that quick summer satchel I recently made with the Eco-Cotton? I used it once and decided I didn't like it.

The pattern was nice and the yarn was fine for the pattern, but I didn't like using the bag.

It was long and everything I put inside wound up in a heap at the very bottom. Every time I needed my wallet or keys, I had to paw and churn through it all. Oh, and my keys and ink pens did tend to poke through the nice lace detail. Oops.

Finally last weekend I undid the bind off and rewound the yarn. I'm trying a different pattern, the free Brea Bag on Berroco's website. It is a much more shallow crescent shape. I'm enjoying the very clever Norah Gaughan pattern - so far. I still have to knit the other side and a long moss stitch gusset and then SEAM them together.

I'm about as fond of seaming as I am of blocking wires.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tuesday Afternoon Stole

Pattern: Lattice Lace Stole by Debbie O'Neill
19" x 66"

Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Select Lace
100% superwash merino
996 yds/100 gr. - not quite the full hank
color 29 Moody Blues

Needles: Size 3 KnitPicks Options circular (3.0 mm)

A FO at last. This one was a long time coming. Actually it was all finished by April 5, but my blocking wires were out on loan. They have been home for awhile, but I just couldn't get very motivated to block it. Too warm already to need it and, truthfully, I'm still seeing stripes.

The stripes aren't too bad and certainly not a deal-breaker. This will make me more cautious in the future when choosing yarn for a lace pattern. The pattern and the yarn were both pleasant to work and I think the very definite geometric nature of this lace patterning works with this colorway.

To repeat, I did not work two halves and graft at center as the pattern instructed. I knit following an idea from "Victorian Lace Today". The narrow lace at the ends is knit sideways. I bound off all but the last stitch and, leaving it on the needle, picked up across the top and began the wider border, worked all the way to the other end and then knit the narrow lace sideways attaching to live stitches as I inched across.

The K2tog I used to connect it created just a slight raised effect that is not at the other end, but to me that is less noticeable than a graft down the center. [It's the end of the right in this picture.] You can see the graft in the photo on Debbie's blog. To each his own, I suppose.

I stopped off this morning to make these photos and didn't manage to really capture the vividness of the deep blue. A Moody Blue. Perfect for Moody Me.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bunad Bonanza!

Talk about colorful! Oh, my. A lovely book by Laila Duran.

Amazing photos of folk costumes, and individual components, taken in such beautiful settings; some indoors and many with breathtaking outdoor scenes.

On the Folklore Fashion Blog you can see the sights and meet the people that made this book happen. All information is in English.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Peace in the Park

Weather is cool today, but warm enough Monday to make knitting in the park on a lunch break still enjoyable.

I've made it through the middle and on the last end on the Deep Peace scarf; a very pleasant, peaceful knit.

I made a new bag to hold it. Another box bag, but this time using the directions here for the corner ends.

Not paying attention, I picked up fusible interfacing this time and I am not happy with the crinkle look I got as a result. I've since purchased some regular and won't be using this fusible again for this purpose.

In the interim, my inspiration, Norma (on Ravelry) has already finished her third!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ah, that's better

Purpose-wise and color-wise, I'm much happier with how the Manos Serena is working out now.

I'm trying a simple lace pattern over 30 stitches and hoping for a narrow scarf.

Will it work out to be long enough? Wide enough? Not sure. But it is basically a one-row pattern with knit on wrong side so I'm putting it in the car for my travel project.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

Took a little trip up to the mountains with Mother this past weekend. Although many, particularly in Alabama, were still suffering from the storms and tornadoes earlier in the week, the weather for our little jaunt was perfect; clear and not too warm.

Since we went through Franklin, NC, I managed to stop and buy a little skein of yarn at Silver Threads & Golden Needles. A lovely shop with many nice yarns.

I came away with one skein of Manos Serena. I was simply bewitched by the lovely colorway (#9796) Mermaid. This is 60% baby alpaca/40% pima cotton and is ever so soft. Too bad it is absolutely not suitable for the little hat pattern I had in mind. I should have stopped and thought. [I sometimes find that hard to do when surrounded by lovely yarns. Do you??]

There is no stretch with the yarn and not enough body for the pattern. Sigh. I was also quite bothered by the laddering I was getting. It is a wonderful yarn and, with the right pattern, would be simply divine.

Now I'm bewildered. Whatever will I find to do with just 170 yards?

"Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" Lorenz Hart ... his birthday today.