Tuesday, November 30, 2010

and so we knit

Tonight, I type this knowing that my youngest son went to sleep angry with me.  It's not a good feeling, and moreso because his anger is unjust.  He is angry that he missed the last 45 seconds of his episode of fruits basket.  This is because I was picking up and he decided to fight with me for the dvd player remote control, and in grabbing my hand, he managed to also smash the power button.  Rather than letting me turn it back on and finishing out the last 45 seconds of his show, he threw himself into bed and wept himself asleep.  Refusing all offers of comfort, explanation, or condolence. 

So, unsettled and unhappy, and aware that we'll likely go through something similar tomorrow while my husband is at man night, I knit.  It doesn't undo this miserable episode.  It doesn't fix anything, or make the 5 nights a week it's my job to put him to bed any less of a struggle.  But it does let me sleep without weeping in sadness and frustration myself.  So I knit.

Shawl 10, Mary Mary take 2, Hoarfrost

While I was knitting shawl 9 on size 3 needles, I was knitting this shawl at the same time on size 2 needles. 

I added some more holes to the edging lace, just for fun on this one. 

white back detail, shown flat

side of triangle, detail, shown flat

This is a heavier yarn.  Almost a fingering weight, to the Misti Alpaca lace weight.  This is a smaller shawl, but by no means a small shawl.  Although the yarn is heavier weight, the smaller needles make for a more dense, silky (thanks to the cashmere) fabric.

Only a few inches shorter, but compare this back to the original knit and you'll see the density difference.
In white, this reminds me of hoarfrost
Is it wrong of me to love this shot?
To be honest, I have another of these on the needles in midnight blue that I'm beading.  I have another just off the needles in an alpaca silk (which won't be offered, it was a yardage test-knit).  I also have the handmaiden silk and wool currently on the needles, and another vine and leaf nearing the point where I can knit the border onto it.  And I have one more that I know of blocking on the bed.  So, I'm pretty close to 4 more to post here.  Now that I have the results of the poll, I will be blogging the knits more aggressively.  I wasn't sure I would be able to use the results of all of this knitting, so it didn't get blogged as closely as I would like.

Anyway, without more of my faffing on, here is Shawl 10, Hoarfrost.

Shawl 9, Mary Mary Quite Contrary

This is one that you've seen a little bit of.  It's a new-ish pattern in that you haven't seen a blocked specimen yet, but I have just had it test knit (successfully, yay).

So here she is, in Misti Alpaca light blue.

Overall shot.
And here
Detail of the transitions
I like this pattern.  I guess I should, since I slapped the stitch patterns together.  There's something simple, but fun about knitting it.  I used rule of 10 for the first 2, and then a 12 for the border.

This is now officially the largest of the shawls, coming in at around 5 feet long down the center spine.  Want to see?
Yep, that is almost brushing the hearth.
In order to get a decent detail shot on the dress form, I had to take 2 pictures.

See what I mean?  This was knit on size 3 needles.  Amazing what blocking does, no?

I actually like this shot.
double drape
For fun, I also knit a cashmere/merino/silk one on size 2.  She's also blocked, finished and photo'd, but as shawl 10 I figure she deserves her own post.  So here we have it, Mary Mary Quite Contrary.  You are now dubbed Shawl 9.

Shawl 8, Cashmere and Mink Pine Autumn Glow

Ok, so this one did get a little blog-time.  Not as much as it deserved, perhaps, but it was a terribly quick knit.  This is the Mink/Cashmere DK weight yarn, and it is just luscious.  Yummy even.  I can't help it, I still love this yarn with a deep, and abiding (and possibly unnatural) love.

But, really, what's not to love?

Center detail shot.
The color on this is a deep, forest green that is almost black.
very dark green
On one hand, the color was not as appealing to folks who saw it while I knit as was the original Autumn Glow Shawl with it's variegated rusts, reds, and browns.  On the other hand, while the pattern wasn't lost with the original iteration, it wasn't showcased.  The first was a matching of gorgeous yarn and simple (but elegant in my opinion) pattern which showed the yarn to lovely advantage.  This knit is a pairing of deep and elegant yarn with a pattern that showcases the pattern to advantage.  Again, my opinion.

On the other hand, this is quite nice.
This shawl will sneak up on you.  The pattern is pretty, the leaves are pretty, but the true secret is in the yarn.  There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that compares to mink & cashmere yarn.  Great Northern Yarns has a fabulous product at a crazy price.  Plus, it's a sustainable mink farm.  Luxury, affordability, and sustainability.  It's pretty close to perfect.

And the pattern's not bad either.
Mind you, I love it draped like a cowl too.  Here's a silhouette shot.
mmm, dk
It's a good thing this is in such a dark green, or I'd swipe this for myself.  Without further ado, Shawl 8, the Cashmere and Mink Pine Autumn Glow.

Shawl 7, Rose Colored Joie

I'm still catching up on finished objects here.  I'm grateful to my commenters who helped me decide that I could use more than one knit of each pattern for this project.  I hope that folks get a kick out of the next iteration of these.

So, here are the blog posts that deal with this shawl.  I'm kind of ashamed that I didn't blog this one more.  It was knit in the time when I was wrestling with whether or not it would count for the project, so I kept it kind of close to the vest.

Here are some detail shots, with red in the background per my husband's preference. 

I'm not sure I agree that this red was the best, but it does work.
Detail of triangle construction
Now, HERE they are on a nice scarlet color.
I like this darker red better.

The full monty!
This was knit from Fleece Artist blue faced leicester in rose.  Roughly 600 yards, this was the biggest of the shawls knit until I did my Mary Mary shawls.  I love knitting the Joie pattern.  When I knit the first, I thought it was just the alpaca/silk yarn that made this pattern so fun.  But in an unplanned happy coincidence of fate, these patterns just work well together (in my opinion).  I loved working with the BFL.  It has lanolin in it, which means it smells a bit sheepy.  I didn't do a power scrub on it, after the knit, so someone is going to have a lovely piece with fantastic soft (and softening) properties.  Knitting this shawl gave me a new fiber to love!

I hereby declare this finished object Shawl 7, the Rose Colored Joie.

Shawl 6, vine and leaf take two

I know I haven't updated the blog with these shawls as much as I should have.  I was waiting to see the outcome of the poll about whether it was cheating to do multiple versions of my patterns, or if it needed to be 200 distinct patterns.  The consensus is that multiple knitted versions of my patterns is acceptable, so I'm catching up the blog with the latest knits.

Since this is the 6th shawl to be finished, it is dubbed number 6!  Here are some blog posts, reminding you of the knitting that went on.

Let's start with another detail shot, those are always fun.

The ends of the vine pattern wave gently, this shot shows the color of the yarn well.
This is a shot you won't have seen any approximation of previously:
Color is crap, but this is the way the blocked triangle points look.
This may be patting myself on the back, but I really enjoy this pattern.  I have knit this 3 times for 2 shawls thanks to the first one being too tight, and not a good enough knit for me to put my name on.  Happens.  I'm actually plugging away on a final one of these in silk.  The yarn for this is Manos Del Uruguay silk and wool.  I used a little over 4 skeins of yarn, thanks to one of them having 11 knots in it.  Despite that, I love this shawl.  I love the color, I love the knitting of it, and I love the weight.  DK weight shawls feel so solid, almost like a hug.

Mmmm, hug.
This is a pretty good representation of how large this ended up being.
This comes down almost to my knees in back.
And although this isn't a fabulous picture, I love the silhouette.

hmm, maybe a bolero out of this pattern...
So, here is the evergreen vine and leaf.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the knitting.

FO, pine stole

As a memory jog, here are some posts that reference the stole I'm putting up as a finished object.  If I had more energy, I'd be ashamed that it was finished on October 8, but not FO blogged here until... well today.

This is the pine glow stole, a companion piece to the autumn glow triangle shawl.  I think I'll start with a detail shot.

as threatened, the detail shot
Here's a detail of the drape
60% alpaca, 30% merino, 10% cashmere, 800 Meters
As an alpaca yarn, it is a bit hairy.  But I think there is no nicer combination than alpaca and cashmere (unless you throw silk in.... that's always nice too).  Light, silky, warm, and soft. 

Here's how it looks in my library, as the weather and other things going on make taking pictures outside dubious at best.

back shot
And here's the drape/side shot.  I'll be posting all of these finished shawls on Artfire shortly, but I wanted to get them uploaded here first of all. 

Since this is the 5th shawl to be finished, blocked, and posted, I hereby declare it shawl number 5, the pine stole.  I did love this yarn, and the pattern is very calming to knit.  It doesn't take a bunch of brain power, and it's easy to memorize after a couple of repeats.  All in all, a fun, soft knit.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Quickie

Tally Ho!  This will be a picture-less post, as my husband is working and I have the day off.... as does our littlest, who wants 100% mama-time (now, darn it!).

You all need to know that Deb is having her Anniversary Sale today and tomorrow.  All yarn and books are 15% off.  I might have accidentally showed up there at opening time to get a copy of Margaret Stove's new book (and a bit of yarn that accidentally threw itself at me.  Don't look for Plymouth Dye For Me, I might have cleaned her out). 

The boy  may have repaid me by vomiting the entire hour and 15 minute drive back home, so if my nerves seem a bit shot that could be a contributing factor.  Luckily, I travel with plastic bags, a plastic basin, bottled water, and towels.  The yarn was safely and lovingly packed in the back where no harm or stink could come to it, and the car, myself, and the boy all got home clean.

I'm going to go entertain captain upchuck.  Hope your weekend goes better than mine has started :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

and another world is heard from

Sorry about disappearing for so long.  This weekend, my family and I put up the outside walls on the "let's not freeze our pipes" project.  It was long and grueling work, and I literally just fell into bed once we got done.  Saturday, my Dad, my brother and I cut, sawed, and hammered until just past dark.  I cursed my lack of height again.  If I were even 4 inches taller I would have been more helpful.  As it was, I wasn't tall enough to do as much as I wanted to (even with the ladder I was standing on).  Curse you, barely average height.  Curse you.

Anyway, Sunday I went outside with my husband and the littlest beast and we tyvek'd the outside of the porch.  We're now at a point to do flashing and then windows.  And then we get to do the short wall.  The end is in sight.

I haven't taken pictures of the project this time.  A giant square of tyvek didn't strike me as particularly moving progress, so I'm going to wait until the windows are in.  Instead, I'm posting the pattern for the first Serious Scarf for everyone to enjoy (hopefully:).

Without further ado, here's the basic pattern

Charts are read from bottom to top, right to left (and then left to right).  Rows are numbered.
Here is the key so you can translate.

Key!  Feel free to print both.

So.  The edging of this scarf is simple seed/moss stitch (depending on locale).  There are 5 border stitches on each side, and the main pattern is 22 stitches wide.  You can make a scarf of pretty much any size just by multiplying 22x number of repeats and adding the border stitches.  There is one caveat.  In order for the textured part on the sizes to match, you will want to add an extra stitch to whatever count you come up with for your pattern.

What does this mean?  In the case of my Dad's scarf, I wanted 4 repeats.  So 22x4=88 stitches.  88 + 10 (border texture)= 98 stitches.  98+1=99 stitches to cast on.

After casting on 99 stitches (I used knitted cast on, but pretty  much any cast on you are comfortable with will work), I knit 7 rows in seed stitch (*(k1, p1)  *repeat (  ) to end).  The great thing about this texture stitch is it does not matter what row you're on, you'll always start with a knit stitch.  Front/back, they are the same.

After 7 rows, you will begin your right side pattern row;  however you have an extra stitch that will need to be removed in order for the borders to match.  What I did, is on row 7 I began the right side with k1, p1, k1, p1, K2TOG, and then began the center pattern.  This brought my stitch count back to 98, and made the borders match in a k1, p1, k1, p1, k1 pattern.

From here, I basically knit following the pattern until I was almost out of yarn.  I used roughly 1060 yards out of 1072 yards available;  8 skeins of Lark yarn from Quince and Co on size 6 needles.  I got 12 pattern repeats knit before I was close on yarn and needed to start the end border.  My finished dimensions were 92 inches x 32 inches wide, but you can change your dimensions by doing more or less repeats.

To finish the pattern, make sure you end your repeat on the row 30 of the chart.  You will be increasing one stitch across the top in order to bring you knitted width back to the odd number of stitches you started with (in my example that would be 99).  Personally, I just stuck an extra m1 in across the top of the right side row when I started across.  The picked up stitch is not visible, and it made the borders match.  Then I just knit 7 rows of seed stitch, and used a loose knitted bind off.  Et Voilla!  Block to desired measurements and give to someone you care for.

someone I care for
For those who aren't familiar with charts, here are the written instructions as well.  Please use the CO information from above to determine what size you want to make and the number of motif repeats you will be using.  Please be kind, I did this on the fly.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask :)  I know I can be a bit stream of consciousness.

Row 1 k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, *yo, ssk, k17, k2tog, yo, k1*   Repeat instructions between * for number of motifs desired, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1

Even Rows 2 -30 k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p to last 5 stitches,  k1, p1, k1, p1, k1

Row 3 k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, *yo, ssk, k17, k2tog, yo, k1,* Repeat instructions between * for number of motifs desired, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1

Row 5 k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, *k1, yo, ssk, k15, k2tog, yo, k2,* Repeat instructions between * for number of motifs desired, k1,p1, k1, p1, k1

Row 7 k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, *k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k11, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k1,* Repeat instructions between * for number of motifs desired, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1

Row 9 k1, p1, k1, p1, k1 *k2, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k7, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k3,* Repeat instructions between * for number of motifs desired, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1

Row 11 k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, *k4, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k3, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k5,* Repeat instructions between * for number of motifs desired, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1

Row 13 k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, *k6, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, k3tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k7,* Repeat instructions between * for number of motifs desired, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1

Row 15 k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, *k8, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k9,* Repeat instructions between * for number of motifs desired, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1

Row 17 k1, p1, k1, p1,k1,  *k9, k2tog, yo, k11,* Repeat instructions between * for number of motifs desired, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1

Row 19 k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, *k8, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k9,* Repeat instructions between * for number of motifs desired, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1

Row 21 k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, *k6, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, k3tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k7,* Repeat instructions between * for number of motifs desired p1, k1, p1, k1

Row 23 k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, *k4, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k3, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k5,* Repeat instructions between * for number of motifs desired , k1p1, k1, p1, k1

Row 25 k1, p1, k1, p1, k1,  *k2, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k7, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k3,* Repeat instructions between * for number of motifs desired  ,k1, p1, k1, p1, k1

Row 27 k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, *k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k11, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k1,*  Repeat instructions between * for number of motifs desired,k1, p1, k1, p1, k1

Row 29 k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, *k1, yo, ssk, k15, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo,* Repeat instructions between * for number of motifs desired, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Guess who is in the mail??
Little Bundles of Joy!
I wasn't able to get them out yesteday as planned, work interfered.  But they are in the mail as of 10 minutes ago, and on their way!  Graywolfie and TuttleDB, I have packages for you too.  Please let me know where I can send them :)

So, now what?  I've just finished binding off the Mary Mary Quite Contrary Shawl.  It's unblocked and... lovely. 
Bleah.  Man they look ugly before they block.
Here's a closeup of the unblocked edging
Poor ugly duckling.
If you can stand to stare at a pile of noodles, you can just see the lines it will take on once it's blocked.  Tomorrow, I'll block it and you'll see a difference.

Speaking of blocking, remember this guy?
Manos del Uruguay
Well, he's blocking out on the bed as I type.  I think he looks quite well, but I may be something of a biased observer.
See, cute?  Cute!  (knitter=biased)
I do have a secret project that I can't post here.  It's a gift, and I don't want to spoil the recipient's surprise.

I'm considering this as my next project
Mini Maiden in Ocean.  Not enough blue on this blog.
No matter what this skein turns into, it'll be gorgeous.  Can't beat Fleece Artist for beauty and fantastic fibers.

Based on the comments and feedback from our giveaway post, I've decided to coalate and put together my shawl patterns.  The comments were unanimous in favor of it, and I think it will be a fun thing to do.  So I'll be translating my notes, which look something like this (for the most part)
I'm sure there's math there somewhere
Into something readable by people who have better ordered minds.  Truthfully, not all of my patterns are that messy.  But this is the middle lace bit and side increases of Joie, as I used it.  Chilling, isn't it?  That other in pencil is the edging I put on Mary Mary.  I hope that folks will enjoy the patterns as much as I've been enjoying writing and knitting them.  I actually have a copy of Intwined Studio, so writing up the charts and written instructions will be much simpler than trying to get my graph paper scrawls into good order.

I'm going to be writing up the pattern for the Serious Scarf.  I'm thinking of offering that as a free pattern on the site to go with the triangle shawl.  A rectangle and a triangle, sounds good to me.

Anyway, thank you for reading and happy knitting!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The post you've been waiting for (me too)!

So here we are, and I'm all a-twitter.  First I want to thank the lovely folks who commented & gave me some direction.  I really appreciate the feedback, it helps me to not be a ruthless tyrant concerned with ruling the world.  You know, on a knitting scale.

Since we had 5 total comments, I didn't use the random number generator (random.org).  I used the time-tested child labor.

So we started like this:
All of our lovely commenters!
Which were separated, and put into this:
My black sheep mug.
Then I demanded help from the most random person in the house

He puts his hands in that mug all the time, this time he just had permission to do it.
At which point, the hand of fate chose names

So we made a list of the names pulled out in order as so

Read like knitting chart, bottom up.

If we recall from the original post, each name was entered to win one of the prizes being offered.  In that post there were only 3 prizes, so you  may be wondering why we pulled all 5 names.  Before I get into the next bit, let me explain.  I decided that the pool of candidates was not so large to choose from that everyone couldn't be a winner in our first giveaway.  So I set up a bag of goodies, and let little man pull the yarn for the names.  Because the 2 additional prizes are (in my opinion) just as fabulous as the originals, they were put in there for everyone to benefit from as well.

The yarn bag
So, as it stands we have 5 winners, yaaaaaaaaay!

First name pulled was One Sheep.  Little man pulled this from the yarn bag first.  He says it is very soft.

He's right, this is sooo soft to knit with.  Hope you love it!!
The next name pulled was Graywolfie.  And from the bag o goodies, our little man snagged one of our surprise goodies.  You get one of my favorite colorways in one of my favorite blends!
300 yards silk/wool blend in colorway indecita
Next up is Kitten with Whiplash!  Little man pulled out this prize for you from the bag of yarn.
You grabbed the cashmere/mink!
My cats love my cashmere/mink shawl, so I hope you'll love your cashmere mink yarn!

Next, the small hand of fate chose TuttleDB.  And for your prize, he pulled a fun one.
Fleece Artist!!
I was surprised that the Fleece Artist yarns made it until last, but the boy is completely random.  He declairs this yarn to be soft and woolie.

Last, but not least, the boy pulled DMPattersall.  The last yarn to be pulled was waiting for you, but I hope you won't be disappointed!
fleece artist blue faced leicester
Be aware, this contains higher lanolin content, and so smells a little closer to the sheep.  It is soft, the nature of the wool is to have a natural sheen, and it feels divine to knit.  550 fingering weight yards of one of my favorite Fleece Artist Colorways in one of my new favorite fibers!

Congrats to all of you!!  And thank you all for your feedback and encouragement.  Please email me privately where you want your prizes sent!!  Email to marveloustoy @ yahoo . com (remove the spaces, and it will get to me) and I'll pop your loot in the mail!  I've taken the liberty of emailing the folks whose emails addresses I can access.  But Graywolfie and TuttleDB, I need to hear from both of you as I haven't been able to snag your mail addresses (possibly due to being blind or crazy).

Edited to add:  If you like someone else's prize better, feel free to haggle.  Just let me know what you decide amongst yourselves :)

Okay, thank you all for reading this far, and happy knitting.