Monday, July 31, 2006

Close Call

Do you want to know how close?? I'll show you ..

That's all that remains of my Habu wool, after finishing up the Flower Basket Shawl.

When I had completed three extra pattern repeats, the post office scale indicated I had 30% of my yarn remaining. The mystical shawl calculator indicated at that point in the shawl, assuming I was going to add an 11th pattern repeat, I had completed 72.1%. I knew I was cutting it close and with each row I became more anxious and more obsessed with finishing.

Even after adding four pattern repeats, the shawl is actually a scarf. I was expecting it to be small and am quite happy to have a red lace scarf. I will probably get lots more wear out of it this way, and the Habu seems appropriate for an everyday scarf. It softened up some with washing and didn't lose a bit of it's rich red color. (Hard to capture, but that bit in my palm comes the closest.) AND there wasn't a single knot in the whole 808 yards. I had exactly two ends to weave in. I'm pleased with it. (Though now that I've fallen prey to this lace knitting addiction, I'm thinking about the next shawl and imagining a more luxurious yarn.)

It doesn't look like much right off the needles:

But let the magic begin:

and finally...

Flower Basket Shawl
Habu Textiles 2/26 Geelong Lamb Wool / 808 yards/2 ounces - used double throughout
Needles:Susan Bates 29" circular-US 3
Pattern:Flower Basket Shawl by Evelyn Clark/Interweave Knits Fall 2004
Aside from using different yarn and needles, my only modification was to knit four extra pattern repeats.
Finished Measurements: 52" long x 21" deep
Started:July 13
July 30

Thanks to Nick, for patiently photographing the shawl and me, in the rain.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Basket Of Flower Basket Shawl

I'm in that unenviable place of being obsessed by a slow growing project that takes up all of my knitting time, but leaves little to show for itself. I'm well under way having completed the seven called for pattern repeats. That's the good news. The bad news is that after seven pattern repeats what I have doesn't look anywhere near shawl size. However, I've been frequenting the local Post Office and using the scale in the lobby. According to my latest calculations using said scale (apparently I've only used 4/10ths of my yarn so far) and the wondrous Shawl Progress Calculator found here, I have enough yarn remaining to do at least two and maybe three extra repeats. I'm cautiously optimistic that the finished shawl will be, while not exactly big, big enough.

I had whole days this week when I unknit more than I knit. I had long hours when I'm sure my SPH* rate was slower than the surgeon's who worked on Lee Ann's head. (Have you all sent her your good wishes?) I was grateful that I had employed a lifeline as I needed to reach out and grab it, more than once. But in the last few days I made peace with the pattern. I've found if I can work without interruption** all the while chanting that row's pattern iteration aloud, and if I compulsively count my stitches after each and every row so that I can quickly catch and fix any forgotten yarn over or errant double decrease, I can make forward progress.

*Stitch per hour
** This is, of course, laughable. I share my home with one husband, two sons and a dog "with issues."

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Shawl And Swatches

I've embarked on my first lace shawl, Evelyn Clark's Flower Basket Shawl out of the Fall 2004 InterweaveKnits. I'm using 2/26* Geelong Lamb Wool from HABU textiles. Considering I have only 808 yards and I'm using it double, it may be more of a scarf.

I love watching the pattern emerge and I adore the puckered fabric because I've seen so many other bloggers reveal the magic of the blocked lace shawl. I can hardly wait!

When I was too tired to trust myself to follow the chart last night, I switched gears and became obsessed anew with working on my TKGA Master Hand Knitter Level I swatches. I'm determined to stick to it and submit them .. soon. I've worked nine of the 16 required swatches and made some progress on the questions this morning. Maybe going public with this goal will keep me focused.

* Can anyone out there tell me what this numerical designation means? I'm thinking maybe it's related to ply? Wraps per inch? I haven't a clue..

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Fighting The Blues

To be honest, I'm not so much fighting them as wandering about the house all mopey and sad and sort of wallowing in them. My brother and his family left yesterday after spending a wonderful 9 days with us in Juneau. I'm bereft. You would be too if you'd had a week like This*, and your brother lived thousands of miles from you and plans for the next visit hadn't been made yet. (* To see the slide show, click on the Personal Images link. )

To add to my misery, I'm pretty much between knitting projects and can't muster the energy to make a decision about what to knit next.. just when I most need a nice soothing knitting project.

After finishing the Wobbly Circles Tote, I cast on for some simple socks so I would at least have a project to bring on our adventures. But they're just not doing it for me. Can't decide if I should slog through or rip .. the yarn is Greenwood Fiberworks Handpainted Cotton Stretch. They feel nice, but refuse to grow, despite being carried along on various outings:

A hike along the shore of Mendenhall Lake, at the terminus of the Mendenhall Glacier.

To Sheep Creek, south of Juneau where, alas, the salmon were not yet running. My niece, Auden, was a great help - both by holding the sock, and by being the cutest thing in the photo.

The sock didn't go whale watching, but I couldn't resist. (It does fit the blue theme ..)

I'm thinking about my luscious Habu Textiles yarn. I have 2 ounces of 2/26 Geelong Lamb Wool. The label says 808 yards. Dare I try a Flower Basket Shawl? Should I use it double or single? Will I have enough? Am I knitter enough for a lace shawl? Am I fashionable enough to pull off wearing one if it turns out I am knitter enough to knit one? You can see how I'm suffering. I might need to take a walk and knit some socks.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Done Wobbling

We're in the midst of a long anticipated visit with far flung family and have been enjoying a rare and welcome stretch of sunny warm weather. The weather combined with the company has resulted in a wonderful and action packed week. Though knitting time has been limited, I have managed to complete my Wobbly Circles Tote.

First I finished knitting both sides.

Both to conserve yarn, and to provide some knitting excitement, I decided to switch the colors around a bit, for side number two.

I brought the bag along on an excursion Out The Road to Eagle Beach. While the kids played at the edge of Eagle River, I finished sewing back to front.

Here she is awaiting felting:

Because we have a front loading washer, I thought I might have to resort to hand felting.

Before long, however, I abandoned the plunger and 5 gallon bucket and with a leap of faith, tossed the bag and some towels and jeans into the washer. I believe I ultimately went through 4 cycles before it was felted to my satisfaction..
..and I am very satisfied. After all of my angst and obsessive fretting about handle length I managed to achieve just what I envisioned - a too-rare occurrence in my knitting world-so I am delighted.

Wobbly Circles Tote
Pattern: Wobbly Circles Tote designed by Leigh Radford/Interweave Knits Spring 2006
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Bulky
Needles: Addi Turbo Circular size US 10
Modifications: I modified the handles so they would fit over my shoulder. At row 103 I only knit 20 stitches at each edge and bound off the center 26 stitches. On the next row I cast on 70 stitches across the gap created by the bound off stitiches. I worked 8 rows straight and then I knit an applied I-cord around the top of the bag and inside of the handles for reinforcement. (A recommendation I found here.)
SPECIAL THANKS to my brother Will, photographer extraordinaire, for patiently indulging his neurotic older sister me and photographing the bag on my shoulder.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Max Is Back

It's been eight weeks to the day since Max's accident and he wasn't about to wait a minute more than he had to, to get back on the field. The weather cooperated and I managed to get in a few rows of knitting, making it a perfect soccer practice! I'm closing in on my Wobbly Circles Tote. Felted and finished photos soon, I hope.

In swatching news, I played around with my Noro Silk Garden earlier this week. I selected a simple horseshoe cable from here. While I was at it, I decided to experiment with V-neck shapings. I need to keep working on that. There must be a way to get a nice crisp V .. I just don't know what it is, yet. I'm leaning toward the edge on the left, but that's subject to change too. This yarn is lovely (Somehow, I've never knit with Noro before) - though the ball I used for my swatch had a knot which resulted in this very abrupt color change. Luckily the other balls look more uniform.