18 March, 2006

Birch lace shawl done!

(This post has been edited... a picture has been added)

I finished Birch this week. I love it, it's like a soft cloud around my shoulders and so warm.

The finished shawl has a very nice drape

My Alice Starmore pose

It will be for special occasions only, because I already got it caught in the zipper of my wallet when I wore it to the grocery store... Ooops!
The yarn is lovely, so light and soft. I can see why it's so popular. One of my dogs playfully attacked it, so I have to be careful with how I carry it. Apparently it reminded somebody of a fuzzy squeaky toy being waved in front of them, but there was no damage done. If the pictures I took myself are not that great, it's because it was so cold out this week, and I couldn't stand to be out taking pictures with bare hands for very long. Hmmm, this is getting me thinking about future fingerless gloves to knit...

With this picture I am trying to show both the stripe effect which was the result of knitting every other row with different dye lots, and also how the garter stitch version looks as opposed to the more usual stockinette version.
One problem with the stripes was that I had to carry two colors along the side instead of one. I don't usually like doing that, because it causes the threads to lock into a firmer knot along the selvedge. Also, it's a double thickness of yarn on one edge, so that edge has a little more firmness to it than the other. While I was working I was worried that it would not look good, but it's not noticeable at all. It's really hard to get a picture of the color effect, but it does give more depth to the fabric, and I am very happy with it.
I think the garter stitch gives a little more softness to the texture. It also makes the fabric reversible.

Project specs:
Birch from Rowan Magazine 34
Yarn - Kid Silk Haze in color Pearl 3.5 balls
Tension - 15 stitches to 10 cm with 5 mm needles
Pattern modifications - the tension in the pattern is 20 stitches to 10 cm, but I wanted it more open so I used 15 st/10 cm.

I decided I needed I small portable project, so I have started a scarf using bamboo yarn. The pattern is called Snowdrops. I got it from one of my knitting stitch encyclopedias, but I am already experimenting with changing it. I am not so happy with how the double decreases are working out, they are making a lot of big bumps. Could be because this is not such an elastic yarn, it's a lot like cotton. The yarn is very smooth and has a good sheen, and I wanted to use a lace pattern which included areas of stockinette to capitalize on that smoothness. I have also been working on my yellow and green Norwegian sweater, and even though I love knitting lace, it is a relief for my fingers to feel some nice springy wool again.

09 March, 2006

Because I need another expensive hobby

Look at this gorgeous fabric Blossom sent me! I just love it so much. I so admired it when she bought it a few weeks ago. It's an Amy Butler fabric. Now Blossom has gotten me to start sewing again. She is very inspiring! Thanks Blossom!
I had been more into quilting than sewing clothes in the past few years, because I didn't really get too excited about the dress fabrics I was able to find. I think the last thing I sewed for myself was a dress in 1991... But maybe it's the inspiration of favorite designers like Oilily... I am crazy about colors and patterns at the moment. I placed some different yarn colors around it, to see what I could be inspired to knit to go with this fabric. Very exciting!
So I haven't decided what to make with this blue and pink paisley yet. Either a skirt, or a dress. I picked up a vintage Vogue pattern from the fifties, with a little bolero. It's adorable. But the fabric might need more of a sixties shape. I remember having a tunic dress in a paisley fabric like this, ca 1970, with a little gold chain belt around my waist. I was about seven at the time, and feeling very fashionable!

In the package from Blossom was also a whole bunch of skirt patterns. Pretty much every style is covered. I am going to be so well dressed! I do think it would be so cool to make a skirt to go along every time I knit a new top.

04 March, 2006

My babies

A picture of my pretty girl, Miss Graceful, whom we call Gracie. We have had her since she was three, and now she is fourteen and a half! When we first got her, she had been mistreated, and her former owner had returned her to the kennel, and exchanged her for a "better" dog. Can you imagine! Apparently she had spent nine months cowering in a corner and being terrorized by that person's other smaller dogs. When we first met her it took us an hour to get close enough to catch her, she was so shy and scared. It took about six months before she could believe that being petted was a good thing, she would just suffer through it, and try to get away. Gracie was our second greyhound, and she benefited greatly from having had an older and more outgoing sister. She has become much, much more relaxed and confident, and now she is a completely different (and completely spoiled) dog, although she seems to like it best when having our other dog close by.

Our number two dog is called Pippi, as in Longstocking, because sometimes her ears stick out in a Pippi kind of way. She is a very playful and mischevous little thing, and very affectionate. In the picture she is on a daybed in my workroom, which she now considers hers. Finding the most comfortable and soft spot to lounge is her special talent. Usually in a sunbeam. And she of course prefers our down comforter. Pippi has a lot of toys, which she likes to spread out all over the floor of our house. She is only three, so has an incredible amount of energy. She loves the snow, which she had never seen before we moved to Massachusetts, and goes completely crazy whenever we have a good snowfall. She makes me laugh a lot.

Otherwise, I am not quite done with Birch yet, as I am having to fix a mistake which happened about four rows down. My handy, dandy crochet hook has been a constant companion throughout this project, as it seems to be very easy for me to make mistakes when knitting lace!

02 March, 2006


Yesterday was a really productive day for the Birch shawl. I was spending hours installing some new software on my home computer, and instead of spending the down-time studying the book, a hefty tome on programming, I knitted. And knitted and knitted. It's looking like it might be finished in a couple of days!

A bonus for Birch: It's now multicolored. Well, sort of. I recklesslessly started it with only two balls of Kid Silk Haze, when I knew it needed three. On a trip to the yarn shop (a trip to the big city!) I found another from a different dye lot. The shade was so different that it was even obvious without seeing them next to each other. It looks like my first two balls are Oatmeal, and the third is Pearl. It's got a little bit of pearly pink to it. I was too impatient to shop for another, I mean, what are the odds that another dye lot would match any better... Doing one row at a time with each color is giving it a little more depth. I really like the effect!

I have a new sweater in the works. A sleeve is already done. No more subtle colors for me! This pattern is from the book Sweaters! by Tone Takle and Lise Kolstad. I LOVE this book. And I have always drooled over this sweater (pattern 1) which has green sleeves, yellow body, and red patterns all over. It's done in Rauma 3-tr Strikkegarn from Norway. The riot of colors is toned down a little by the brown edgings. I think it's great for brightening up a long, long winter, and I certainly feel very cheerful knitting with all these colors in my hands. This book is full of Norwegian sweaters in non-traditional colors, and it's been one of my favorites for a long time.