Friday, October 29, 2010

GIVEAWAY now with 100% fewer echnical difficulties!

Ok folks, here's the deal.  I need to find the "safe place" the camera battery charger is hidden in.  I do have photos both of work done and of the yarn for the giveaway but can't get them off the camera.  Yet.

I will update this post with the photos sometime today, but here's the scoop.

ETA:  Camera has been recharged!  Adding yarn porn now!

I'm debating how many brand new shawl patterns I need to write myself in order to do this project.  I think 200 is a truly lofty goal, but I'd like to shoot for something like 30-50 new patterns with a chance to knit each a couple of times to find the rhythm in it.

What do you think?  Do you have any suggestions?

Additionally, I want to know whether you think I should publish my patterns.

Each commenter to this post will be entered to win one of the following (with pictures to follow below them).

460 yards of dk weight cashmere mink yarn, Carribean Blue (from Great Northern Yarns, naturally)
knitting below color off, color of yarn, surprisingly accurate.  Yarn is sooooft and consistent a pleasure to knit

546 yards of ~ fingering weight brushed mohair & wool yarn from Fleece Artist in buttercream
I loooove this, it's softer than many mohair yarns and the color of sunshine and butter

874 yards of laceweight baby alpaca in tea-rose red by Misti Alpaca
the color on this is pretty darn close, which is hard with reds.  It's alpaca & laceweight.  Yummy stuff.

To enter, just comment on this post.  Winners will be chosen via a random number generator, so do make sure your email is attached to the comment so I can let you know you've won and contact you to get you your new yarn!

The comments will count until November 14, at which point winners will be announced!  Publicly even!

I did say I'd have the post up for Friday, not anticipating technical difficulties.  Give me a couple of hours to get photos so you can see how sexy the yarn is.  And thank you.

ETA:  Yarn pictures now posted.

Monday, October 25, 2010

drive by post

Note to self.  When searching for newly balled yarn (set down to protect it while dealing with pre-schooler emergency) do not enter a room from fruitless search, and call in despair "where is my yarn???"

Husband-types will cackle, knowing that yarn is secreted around the house (but not caring you refer to specifc and necessary yarn... although ALL yarn may be considered necessary).

Saturday, October 23, 2010

a good beginning

This shawl is a pattern I cobbled together using the free shawl pattern as it's base.  I just love that stitch pattern, and use it as often as I think I can get away with it.  I put this together about a year ago, combining a stitch pattern from Nancy Bush's Knitted Lace of Estonia with my favorite stitch.  I snatched one of the edgings from KLOE as well, and the finished project was born.  Since then, I have knit 5-6 of these in different weights.  I give them to people I care for.  My husband gives them to people without asking me.  They just seem to go poof, so I figured it'd be a good next shawl for the project while I'm working out patterns for test knitters and preparing to knit the next 5 designs. 

Unfortunately, I am only in the beginning stages of this shawl... so it looks exactly like the free shawl pattern.  For now!  In a few short repeats that will change dramatically, so I'll be chronicalling this one more closely. 

The yarn I am using is Quince & Co's Tern in driftwood.

This is what they look like in a pile sans flash
a little dark, but not far off

Here's what the started project looks like with flash
a little bright, but look at that stitch definition.  trust me it's there.
The manufacturer suggests size 1-3 needles for this, so I chose 3.  I'm something of a loose knitter, which is good for lace.  I think if I were to work with Tern again, I'd use a size 4 or 5 needle.  I like the drape of this yarn so far, and look forward to seeing how it blocks out.

In the meantime, I'm also trying a variation using Misti Alpaca baby alpaca lace, so as soon as I get a little progress on that I will take pictures of it as well.

I hope to do a giveaway in the next week, so keep your eyes peeled around Friday for photos and info about that.  I gathered the materials today, so I should be able to put them together properly, photograph them, and write it up.  I figure to be good to go no later than the 29th.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I almost forgot!

I got something sexy in the mail!
This is how they package their sinful goodies.

I'm test driving their Tern yarn in a pattern based on the free pattern.  Not quite a I type this, but you get the drift.  I'll be reviewing them shortly, and am excited to do so!  Mmmmmm yarn......

Yarn Review: Malabrigo Silky Merino vs Manos Del Uruguay Silk blend

This yarn by Malabrigo and this other yarn by Manos Del Uruguay are very similar.  For instance, they are both DK weight.  They are both spun into a thick single.  They both have lovely color, and lovely sheen.  The Malabrigo has a higher silk content, at 51%.  Manos Del Uruguay has a respectable silk content at 30%, and manage a remarkably high sheen with the lower silk content.

Here are the yarns, side by side:

so soft, so pretty....
Both of those skeins are 150 yards to 50 g in weight.

I guess it's because the Manos is closer to the sheep, but I have consistently found a high concentration of vegetable matter in their yarn.  VM is not a huge concern to me, it's part of any yarn that involves something that lives outdoors.  Sheep, llama, goat, alpaca, rabbit... they all contact vegetation at some point, and it's part of the experience.

The issue I have with the Manos, which makes it less of a favorite than the Malabrigo is the number of knots per skein.  With Malabrigo, you have some 'perfect' skeins where you don't fight knots at all, and their knot per skein has been less than 3 in my limited experience.  I've knit about 30 skeins of Malabrigo since discovering Silky Marino, and the quality has been fairly consistent.

The Manos I've only knit about 20 skeins of so far, and I've been disappointed in the number of knots.  I am willing to overlook a certain amount of knots in a skein, especially in a singlespun yarn;  but the giant green blob made from this
so pretty, so full of @#$@ knots
which has involved 5 skeins of this particular yarn (5 different dyelots from 3 different sellers) have an average of 4 knots per skein with a top out of 11!  Eleven knots.  Their yarn is lovely.  I do, in fact, love it.  Perhaps they have more knots because of the lower silk content.  The Malabrigo has more silk, so the yarn is harder to break.  I have tried a tension test between the two, and it's much harder to snap the Malabrigo.

Both of these are lovely yarns.  They can both be a delight to work with, and the colors they have are stunning.  I won't stop using the Manos yarn, but I will no longer be purchasing it over the web.  In person, you can look through the skein (they are hung untwisted in most shops) and determine the knot-ly-ness of each on it's own merit.  Since these are dyed by hand, you will be switching out yarn every few rows anyway, so waiting to find the right skeins is an option.

Malabrigo comes out slightly on top for quality for me.  But they are still both lovely...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

all together now

So, as mentioned yesterday, I did get some knitting done.  I'm going to post a bunch of pictures of progress, as well as what they're for. 

The first thing that made knitting difficult was this:
This is him making sure that his turkey dinner doesn't notice he's eating it.  I kid you not.
Cute, isn't he?  Pain in the royal rump, but cute.  Cute enough for me to knit this for him:
Yep, it is a bit big.
That little hat is not done, but he hasn't given it back for the inner liner to be added.  I sure would like to finish it... yep, I sure would.

So I finished the knitting on giant pink blob.  It hasn't been blocked yet, so it looks like this:
test knit of Joie pattern
This is me testing my Joie pattern in the largest size.  I intend to have 3 different sizes, and this is the large size.  My test knit for this one took 600 yards, and I think it's coming in at the size I estimated.  This will be blocked this week.  That yarn?  It's Fleece Artist 2/8 Blue Faced Leicester in petal.  Love!  It smells a bit closer to the sheep than some, but it's just so nice to work with.

Added to that, I worked on this big green blob:
doesn't look like much yet
This is a test knit of my vines and leaves pattern.  I have misplaced skein number 5 on this, so it will wait to be finished until I determine what safe place I tucked it into to protect it from Ninja Boy.

Here's a close up of how the yarn behaves:
Manos Del Uruguay silk blend
This is a 50-50 wool & silk single, DK weight.  It's very similar to one put out by Malabrigo, but I find a whole lot more vegetable matter twisted into the single itself.  So at the moment, it's nice to work with but given the choice between the two I'd chose Malabrigo as it's been more consistent for me.

I've also done this: 
blue leaf cashmere shawlette
It's a simple, small triangle in blue-ish leaf patterns.  Just knit for the joy of the yarn, to be honest.  Needs blocking, but it stretched out well with very little coaxing.

This is another thing I'm working on.  The color in this picture is off, it's a deep evergreen color in real life.
another test knit
This is a test-knit of the pattern for Autumn Glow.  I'm using a nice mink/cashmere yarn from Great Northern Yarns.  If you haven't checked them out, please do.  They are a sustainable mink-fur farm.  What this means, is they raise mink and shave them once a year.  They believe that happy minks make better fibre, and it shows in their product.  Their yarn has been consistent quality, and the mink/cashmere is not something you'll find anywhere else.

The final thing that has been keeping me from writing new patterns is this:
crappy shot
Yep, it's a shell/tank top.  It's my own mix o patterns, and I have a sweater I want to knit for it as well.  But I want to get this finished so I can wear it.  I know it's strange and selfish to want something to wear that I knit.  Don't hold it against me? 

Monday, October 18, 2010

that's always fun

So, this weekend we found out that my husband and I are going to have days off in common for the first time in almost 5 years.  This is exciting.

It also means that our income is going to be cut by 10 % and our child-care costs will double!  This is also exciting.  But not the same way.

I did do knitting this weekend, and I have some things I will take pictures of tonight for posting either tonight or tomorrow morning.  I need to take a little time to figure out the long-range consequences of the changes and how we'll be dealing with them.

Friday, October 15, 2010

drive by

The bookshelves finally showed up, so I have been helping my husband put them together.  Sadly, these bookshelves will be holding his books, rather than coopted for yarn.  Sometimes, the price of marital harmony is who gets the storage space.  After they're up and full, I'll be posting something yarn related here.  But I need to get books into them before I have to chase evil feral cat out of them so time is short.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Today, my mother asked me to work on a masculine shawl for my father.  I'm all about it, as the idea of wearable man-lace tickles me.  Plus, he shouldn't be wandering the house wrapped in a giant comforter when all he wants is a little extra warm for his shoulders.

My dad is incredibly adventursome in his clothing colors compared to most men.  He looks good in pink and knows it, and therefore wears it.  On purpose even.  But he does have some strange ideas about what is and is not appropriate for outerwear colors.  Shirts + pink= good.  Hats + red = iffy.

He will also wear almost anything I  knit for him because he loves me.  For instance, he wears a god-awful hat that I knit for him.  It's enormous.  I'd get into lying, lying test swatches... but I think we all know that sometimes you get gague and guage still gets you (in the butt).

So the trick here will be to find a pattern that he will wear because he likes it (instead of because he likes me), and a color that is approved for outerwear. 

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  I'm open to it!

Later today, I will have an update on the giant pink thing of doom and the stole that has finished blocking.

Monday, October 11, 2010

ha, take that intarweb

I got my first 4 shawls put up!  It only took huge amounts of swearing under my breath, a little help from my teen in getting photos, some cooperation from the weather, and time with an internet connection. 

On my side bar I have put up the links to 4 of the finished shawls.  Under finished objects even. 

So, here's the shop for anyone who is interested
My Baby Shop, take a peek?

In the meantime, here's a shawl I didn't write the pattern for, but I did knit. 
isn't it pretty?  I wish I wrote it!
crap photographer, nice knitting for my mum!
Let's see what else I can get done this week!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


This is more a reminder to myself, but I want some accountability. 

Talk about the big pink project;  talk about artistic inability to take decent shots.  Think about finding someone with actual photographic ability.

Weed through the 50+ photos taken this afternoon, and put up the 4 finished shawls.  Block the 5th, get photos. 

Actually knit on number 6.

Write post about patterning.

Post more than every 4 days.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

always document your infidelity well

I did get a little knitting done yesterday.  But I have to admit that it was mostly non-blog knitting.  If I put it up on the blog, does that make it blog knitting?  This is my theory and I'm sticking to it.

For starters, I fnished my birches shawl.  Here it is in it's pre-blocked glory
soft, wooly, and pretty
It's hard to get a sense of scale, but with 3 skeins, or 327 yards, I have a nice thick item that is slightly larger than the measurements set out as the shawl minimums.  It will block out nicely, and with this recent cold weather I am very much looking forward to having it for real.  There are unverified reports that I may already be wearing it off and on despite its unblocked state.

Speaking of knitting infidelity, I finished this for my  mother
she looks awesome in blue, this should be great on her
Yep, another great unblocked wonder.  This one is a Haruni (ravelry link) also available from knitpicks.  This is a free pattern by Emily Ross which uses my favorite public knitting pattern as it's main part.  She did wonderful things with it, and my mother likes lacey edges with fairly solid bodies in her shawls.

I will be blocking this one today, so she can have it on Friday.

And finally, some non-infidelity.  I know!  I'm as shocked as you are!
off the needles, the leaves stole.  next step, block!

And not off the needles, I finished the 5th repeat on this:
starting to take shape!
Now it's time to work out the transition to the edge.  Then I get to do it all over again for the other side!  FUN.

Anyway, have a great day.  I hope your knitting infidelity brings you joy too!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Still Alive

I should apologize for such a long lag between posts.  This weekend would have been wonderful for taking pictures, but instead I spent it doing things with my boys.

On Saturday, I went to the Woolery with my mother and one of her co-workers to help pick out yarn for a stole.  Deb was back, and I finally got to catch up a little.  Unfortunately, I didn't bring any of the finished shawls because my brain wasn't on straight (and I didn't know whether she'd be working or not) but I did get a couple of fun things.  For instance, I picked up this:

Silk/Alpaca/Merino/Donegal Bulky
I wanted a thick hug-like shawl for myself, and this particular yarn reminds me of birch trees.  To belabor the point that lace can be knit in anything, I'm knitting the free shawl pattern with it.  This is what one skein of 109 yards of bulky looks like when knit up
one skein knit up (plus stitch dictionaries)
This is what 2 skeins look like knit up
it did get bigger, but it's hard to take an accurate picture
And shortly I'll be able to show you what it looks like with a third, and final skein knit up on it.

This is not delicate, light, fluffy lace.  This is the kind of thing you throw on in the dead of winter, snuggling in and blessing the great Alpaca.  I will be using it until snow flies as an alternative to a coat.

Saturday I also took my boys out apple picking.  I suppose I could try to make myself sound smarter, but the long and short of it is I walked into a tree.  There were mitigating circumstances, but seriously?  I walked... into... a tree.  Yep, I'm a certified member of the brain trust.  So no knitting was done Saturday due to severe headache.  Go figure.

In the meantime, say, Friday and Sunday, I also knit on the leaves stole:
finishing the final edging, will be done shortly
And I put 3 more inches on the vines stole:
yeah, doesn't look that much different to me either...
I also worked on my prototype for the shawl commemorating my grandmother.  I'm using a "worsted" weight silk single from a cone.  I found that this yarn is more like a heavy fingering than worsted in my "test swatch" (erm, might have beeen a shawlette that I used to "swatch" since it's hard to tell how yarn will behave in a larger item using a 4x4 patch), so I'm knitting it up on size 3 needles.

So soft, so silky, plus shiny!

In the meantime, I'm auditioning yarns for the next time I have free needles.

There's these from Tanis Fibre Arts
blue label yarn in sand
blue label yarn in moss
This Grace Handdyed in peaches
pretty, plus silk!
Another Woolery find in Autumn colors:
autumn reds
A Malabrigo sock weight in November browns
squooshy plus tonal browns
And finally from Great Northern Yarns

navy blue cashmere and mink!
All of them yummy.  All of them beautiful.  How ever is a girl to choose?
Thank you to everyone who managed to read to the bottom of this book.  If you had a choice, which colors would you choose?