Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Highland Triangle Progress

     The Highland Triangle Shawl is progressing.   The orange marker shows where it was last Friday.  One more repeat of rows (out of six) until the central triangle is done.  And the rows get longer and longer.

      Only once have I wished that I'd been using a life line.  I have to say I frequently knit without a net, or a lifeline.  I don't recommend doing that, it's just a truth of what I do.   I look at my work very carefully and often, and I count, a lot.  I rely heavily on my ability to fix lace errors where they stand.  Nevertheless, today I found an error that was beyond my ability to fix in situ so I had to rip back four rows.  Just four.  Not bad.  Picking up the stitches is the tricky bit. My method is to rip back to the pattern row where the error occurred and then take that row out carefully, stitch by stitch, picking the stitches up with a much smaller and very long needle.   A size 0 needle in the 40 inch length is a perfect pick up tool for many projects.  Then simply knit the pattern row with the original size needle, making sure to untwist any stitches that might have gotten picked up in the wrong position. It happens.

   I hope to have the last repeat done by tonight.  I'd like to be well onto the inner border of the shawl before my Highland Triangle workshop this weekend.  The inner border is a really rhythmic, easy to memorize pattern.  It's a great lace pattern to knit in a group.  And a great one on which to demonstrate the wise use of lifelines.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Booklist for July 2012

        As I was doing the photographing for this post, a beautiful creature sat down right next to me.  Wanted to share the moment with you all.

      July is always a good month for adding to the Studio library.  I get to spend time with some of my favorite bibliophiles at Meg Swansen's Camp and they lead me to more inspiring tomes. I'm just showing them to you, no reviews.  None needed.  I only buy books I love.
       The first three amazing books are available from Schoolhouse Press.

     These last three books were simply treats that I had to have.  Eye candy.  Inspiration and joy.

Now I ask you, what would we do without books?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Nazo Jacket WIP

     Some of you will have recognized a Nazo on the needles in the finishing lineup.  This one was launched at the Knitaway in the Studio last October.  The Nazo Vest was the focus of that session and watching everyone work their projects I was inspired, as I often am, to try a variation on the design.  Here is what plans to be a Nazo Jacket.


     The original Nazo Vest uses Dancing Colors, a DK weight yarn, along with a sport-weight companion yarn at a gauge of 3.5 stitches / 7 rows to the inch in Garter Stitch.  That's a very relaxed gauge that lends a nice drape to the fabric.  For the Jacket version though, I envisioned a more structured fabric so I kept the gauge and changed the yarn choice to Brown Sheep Company's Lamb's Pride Bulky.  You can see the difference.  It's good.  I'm liking it.

If you'd like more details on the Nazo you can find those along with the pattern in my Ravelry shop

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Four of a Kind and a Faroette

     Knitting on the alpaca Highland Triangle Shawl is like visiting with an old friend.   I've knit it three times before.  Each time I've used a different weight yarn, a DK for the original, a plumy sport- weight Scottish yarn, and Gossamer alpaca, which is lighter than lace weight.   All three have used the pattern as written, with just a needle size change to suit the yarn.  Such different shawls and each one my "favorite".  I'm sure the fourth version, the revival piece that is on the needles now, will fit right in.

And speaking of shawls, the Faroette Shawl pattern is now up in the Ravelry shop.  It's a play on the  traditional Faroese shaping.  Just a little bit of fun for your summer knitting and since Faroette uses just 500 yards you can knit these up for gifts in a wink.

Now back to  the needles!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Wee Bit'o Sleuthin'

       The Highland Triangle Shawl from Folk Shawls has taken the first position in the finishing line up.  There was a bit of extra motivation since on August 4 and 5 I am teaching a workshop at the Recycled Lamb, on knitting and designing this shawl and it's kin.   It will be great to knit along with the students as they launch their own shawls. I'm pretty sure I'll still be working on it then.  There's a long piece to go on this one yet.

        It took me some minutes this morning to find my place in the pattern.  I think that I must have last knit on this one around Easter as I saw a doodle of a bunny on the chart, a definite seasonal clue.   I found my place by counting the lace motifs that move up the center of the triangle and correlating those to the chart.  Luckily I had left myself another clue; the marker stuck into the center of the knitting indicates the end of the first repeat and the beginning of the next set of row repeats. That was confirmed by the motif count. 
        I will admit that I do not always mark where I've been or where I've left off.  Like many knitters in the thrill of the beginning of a project, I'm sure I will knit right on through it, never leaving it long enough to lose my place.  And this in spite of the fact that I know I am constantly starting something new.   Well then, here's a good lesson from the revived Highland Triangle: leave clues and make notes as you knit, just in case.
        I will thoroughly enjoy knitting on this shawl again.  I has a rhythmic pattern and the central triangle grows quickly.  Knitting satisfaction.  Plus the Just Beautiful Alpaca  is one of may favorite yarns for  knitting.  Feels grand in the hand (quickly jots down the corny slogan).

      When I'm working from large wound balls of yarn I like to use a yarn bowl to keep the ball from rolling around.   Been doing that for years and years, ever since I saw Kaffe Fassett doing so in one of his videos .  He, of course, was using a beautiful Chinese bowl.  This one is also no doubt Chinese, but plastic, and will not break no matter how harshly I treat it.  It's lightweight,  clear so I can appreciate my yarn, and extremely stable with a wide square bottom.  Not elegant but functional.
       On the subject of functional, the Best Loved Garter Stitch Shawl, a most functional garment, will be right by my side today to knit on in those moments when my time to concentrate on the Highland Triangle lace is limited, conversation ensues,  or I am just plain tired.  It's just garter stitch ( I love that phrase) and the color is so enticing it's a joy to knit in the summer light.  It was an unusual batch of Dancing Colors in  Crimson. Watermelon color.  Refreshing.  That's the joy of color and hand dyeing.  Shifts happen.

       Best Loved is large now and close to being done, so it may be the first to be completed.   Only twenty-four rows to go but they are long ones, some 320 stitches each.   Lovely long rows.
        Let the knitting begin!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Lineup

Here's the current project lineup for the18 day Finishing Extravaganza.  Knitter, get ready, get set!

Ivory Leaves in Ivy Dancing Colors

Gary's Gansey in OM

Garter Shawl in Crimson Dancing Colors 

Deconstructed in  Just Beautiful Alpaca
Nazo in Lamb's Pride

Highland Triangle Shawl in Just Beautiful Alpaca

Glitz Shawl ( oh yes!)
Tweed XO

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Focus, please

     With so many knitters getting ready for the Ravellenics it seemed like a good time to get to the bottom of the knitting basket and see what projects have been resting there.  My comfort level for "in process" projects is eight; I always have about eight things on the needles in various stages of design/completion.  If I get many more than that, I find my focus starts to get, uh, fuzzy.  With new shawls for the next book on the needles, focus is essential here.
      So here's what I found en masse.  Eight exactly.  All patiently waiting to be their finished selves.

     After  revisiting them it's clear that each of these projects, all shawls and sweaters, is worthy of being completed. So in the interest of clearing the decks and honing the focus, and in the spirit of the Olympic challenges that begin this week, let the knitting begin, or continue....
    All are either new designs or variations on a past design.  Many notes will be needed to document the progress and details.  The plan is to post about each project as it comes up over the next 18 days.  Now I can't guarantee that I will knit on just one project a day.  That's a bit linear for my liking.  There will no doubt be simultaneous events for different projects.  That's how I knit and I'm sticking to it.
     "Now, Cheryl", you might ask, "why don't you just join the Ravellenic games for the WIP events?"   It's the time factor.  I do love the Ravellenics, love to see people strive for personal best, and I am a devoted spectator and fan.  In fact we have a Ravellenics thread on the Knitaway group just to cheer on all the members who are on many different teams.  Everyone needs a pep squad.  That's me.  And I can knit a lot while I cheer.  From another angle, being in design as a profession, another "people are depending on me to get it done now" deadline I really don't need.  Got that down. 
       So it's the Summer Fun games for me.  And some finished projects, I hope.  We'll see if I'm up to the challenge.  It's a pretty big one.  Perhaps even Herculean.   Thank goodness I've been in training.
     Tomorrow I'll introduce the projects.  Now to find that last ball of yarn for the....oh well...more on that to come. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

What I did at Camp

       For the first time in the seven years that I've been going to Meg Swansen's knitting camp, I actually completed the project on which I had planned to knit.  This event is my annual treat to myself and it never fails to remind me why I love to knit. 

         I always have loads of fun, get oodles of inspiration, and in general just thoroughly enjoy myself at Meg's camp.  I also usually rip out whatever I've been knitting as I'm easily distracted in this amazing group of knitters. This year though I really got some knitting done! 

         I attribute my ability to focus on the simplicity of the project.  It's the Wishbone Shawl that is currently an ongoing KAL on the Knitaway group on Ravelry.   And, another milestone, it is the first garment I've knit from my hand spun yarn. Some of you may recognize the yarn from the Free the Bobbins post.   Now it's a shawl.   What a great feeling it is to wear this one.  I highly recommend to any new spinner out there that they find a project (simple is good) and knit their hand spun yarn.   As good as home made bread and hand churned butter.  Really!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Blessed Rain!

The lambs' ears in the Studio garden are very wet...and loving it.  We all are.  A beautiful rain storm drenched us and one can feel the relief of every creature around.  The wet earth smells delicious!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


     Now here's the kind of fireworks I really like to see!  Happy 4th of July to those of you who celebrate  Independence Day today as well as to all who simply celebrate every day.
      I saw a headline yesterday that asked " Is there a 4th of July in Denmark?"  Ya think?
      I'm going to knit all day.  Spin for awhile.  The weather has cooled down so time in the garden is certain.  Later we'll eat homemade potato salad with Grandma's special dressing.  Summer is grand.