Monday, February 27, 2012

I can be as contrary as I choose

I'm betting you recognize that line as one of the numerous gems uttered by the Dowager, Countess of Grantham in "Downton Abbey". Maggie Smith is something, isn't she!

As much as I enjoyed the stitch pattern of this project, I did whine a bit about the yarn, and the crumpled, wrinkly state of the WIP made it hard to love as well. But a warm bath and a good stretch worked as many wonders for the lace as it does for my own limbs. The finished stole is light and airy.

I'll do a proper FO post later. Not sure I'll be up to getting good photos or if I'll just make do with others I took quickly this afternoon.

In the meantime here are a few fun and clever Downton Abbey links:

Mary first pointed me to the Downton Abbey paper dolls. Love the many faces of the Dowager!

Roman Hills has indie-dyed yarn with colorways cleverly named for the characters, complete with lines of dialog. The Matthew colorway says "Don't play with me. I don't deserve it." while the Mary colorway says "You must pay no attention to the things I say."

Feel like some cross stitch? This etsy seller has one.

I love seeing how much fun people are having with this.

Downton stringplay. This gets the ideas going.

Just a reminder: online viewing only through March 6.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

F stop

This post brought to you by the Letter F.
.........and a few Ms : )

The shawl is Finished. Finally. [Well, it hasn't been blocked. It is soaking right now.]

Fun? Not always, but fortunately the pattern was pleasing.
Fast? Faster than I expected.
Facile? Pattern, yes, yarn no, a bit fuzzy because it is alpaca. And, even though it was a cobweb weight, it was a two-ply and easy to split causing me to fume more than I like.

This was the little ball of yarn just before I started the long bind off. For the ediging I only did 22 rounds instead of 24. I feared at the start of the bind off that I might not have enough, but I did. I might have even had enough to do the final two rounds but I just couldn't face the anxiety. I think the edging will be generous as is.

At any rate, I'm free to move on to the next fibery project. Should be
fun. I'll be using a fabulous fingering weight yarn called Finch.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Fray

Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. from the song "All at Once" by The Fray

Oh the edging on this current WIP is endless. Endless.

The 24-round edging I've chosen is an easy and repetitive one. It is a very basic 10-stitch repeat; all odd-numbered rounds the same and all even-numbered rounds plain knit. And, unlike the one on the Facing Lilies Stole, requires no shifting of markers.

In Knitted Lace of Estonia, Nancy Bush recommends doing at least 16 rounds on edges added this modern way. I'm on round 17 and the ball of yarn is getting much smaller. I am beginning to think I won't be able to get all 24 rounds done. So I'm just trying to stick with it until I no longer have any yarn. At this point I am cheering on the yarn. Go, go, go!

But in the meantime, isn't that tin just so cheerful?

Friday, February 17, 2012


In spite of not being fond of working with the yarn, this project is coming along nicely. You certainly can't tell much from the photo. Unblocked lace is not appealing! This hasn't been a knitting-in-public project, but if it were I can't imagine any non-knitter wanting to take up the hobby based on seeing this wrinkly thing.

I did a quick steam block of the edges before picking up all around for the edging and I actually liked the yarn much better. So much so that I was actually encouraged. Encouragement is a Good Thing and not to be underrated.

True Haapsalu shawls have the edging knit in two long lengths, casting on a large number of stitches and stitching out from the edge, bound off, and sewn onto the garter edges of the shawl. Once again I am adding an edging the modern way ala Nancy Bush and picking up stitches all around and knitting in the round. To make my life a little easier this time, I bought a long addi Lace needle - 60" long actually. Really almost as long as I am tall.

I wondered if it would be awkward to wrangle. I am not very far along yet, but so far it is working well. I do have to stop occasionally and scoot the work around the cable, but they slide easily and, with 60 whole inches, they certainly aren't all bunched up on the needle like I've had before.

Can you see I'm using a project TIN instead of a bag for this? A tin of cookies came to the office at Christmas and I slapped a Post-It on there requesting the tin when the cookies were all gone. I knew it would come in handy. It has been just perfect for this project. I could keep my chart on the inside of the lid, using the magnetic ruler to keep my place, and just pop the lid back on when I was finished for the evening.

"Correction does much, but encouragement does more. " Goethe

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Be mine

It's Valentine's Day,

and in the street,

there's freezing rain,

and slush, and sleet,

the wind is fierce,

the skies are gray,

I don't think I'll

go out today.

But here inside,

the weather's warm,

there is no trace

of wind or storm,

and you just made

the morning shine---

you said you'd be

my valentine.

named first ever Children’s Poet Laureate

no freezing rain or slush and sleet, I just liked this little poem.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I love bags

Well that's hardly news!

I finally got a Play Day and I knew just what I wanted to do. Make a bag!

Because I need a bag? No. Because they are FUN to make and it was high time to have a bit of fun.

I used all things I already had to hand. It would have been nice to have had a longer zipper, but foolish to waste time going shopping for one. Must try to remember to pick up some more next time.

I went with a Valentine theme as you see, but tried to pick fabrics that wouldn't look too Valentine-y to use afterwards. Sure that lining is super Valentine-y, but no one but me will be seeing that. [and aren't the sheep cute!]

I cut 2" strips and stitched them down on batting to self-quilt as I went along. The wooden beads and elastic cording for the zipper pull came from a $1 child's necklace kit bought a year or so back.

What you can't tell from this photo is that the first slice is a bit wonky and my side seams don't really match up. Ordinarily this might bother me, but I have to tell you I was so thrilled to have the time and to get to finish it, that I was delighted that it worked out as well as it did.

Right away I hand wound this hank of Madelinetosh Merino Light in the most scrumptious colorway called Cove and plopped it into the bag.

Oh, my is this a JOY to knit! Would love to work only on this, but it is to be my travel/conversation knitting and the pattern has to be something simple. Right now I'm just a few rows in on a top-down stockinette triangle with the idea of it perhaps becoming the Gingko Shawlette.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Haapsalu Scarf

Kind friend and lacemaker Barbara, alerted me to some new lace books and among them was "The Haapsalu Scarf".

Be still my heart!

In the Estonian knitting tradition, rectangles are shawls and square or half-square triangles are scarves.

What the new book has that the first did not, is specific numbers for finished designs, saving you some calculations, and it repeats no patterns from the first book.

To get an idea and see some large, lovely photos from inside, check out this blog post.

It is $75. $75! Barbara's alert came the very day that I had been browsing through my knitting book library and realizing that I was quite blessed with pattern books and really need not buy any more. What timing!

In most cases, Haapsalu shawls and scarves are knitted of white yarn. If you are craving color and pattern, and not lace, then you might like to see some of the images from another fabulous new book of Estonian knitting, "Designs and Patterns from Muhu Island". Wow! [PS: it's only $130] There is also a wonderful post in Kate Davies' blog and more glimpses inside.