My current work in progress:

1. Ashburn, designed by Melanie Berg, knit from Woolfolk Tynd in colorways 6, 7, and 8 on a 4 mm (U.S. size 6) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Wednesday

Another thrilling blog entry title, no?

And it’s another thrilling day chez Wendyknits. We went to work, we knitted on the train and at lunchtime.

But we did head over to Knit Happens after work.

4-ply Katie modeled the Woodland shawl.

woodland083105 Wednesday

4-ply Katie is a great model. Hmmmmm . . . must remember that . . .

We did get some good news at the office today. All of the people who staff our field office in New Orleans are safe. Needless to say, the office is currently closed. In fact, we don’t yet know if there still is a field office in New Orleans. And most of our staff in that office don’t know if they still have homes. Sitting here in the cozy comfort of our homes in the D.C. area it is hard to comprehend the horror and the enormity of the effect of Katrina. (Pretty much all we had were was an ominous looking sky, spots of rain, and some breezes.) So, I donated some of my yarn money to the Red Cross to do my little bit. Cuz every little bit helps, right?

And L-B sent me this link: PetsMART Charities Disaster Relief.

So Lucy (with a bit of help from me) donated her catnip money.

lucy083105 Wednesday

Garter Stitch

It’s not just for breakfast anymore.

The other day Mary commented:
I was wondering if you have a preference between garter and stockinette stitch lace. Sometimes, I think I lean one way, sometimes another.

Mary, I’m the same way. The Autumn Woodland Shawl was stockinette, and the current Spring Flowers Shawl is garter stitch.

As a rule, I do not like garter stitch. But I do like garter stitch lace very much. I love the way it blocks out — I think the ridges add an interested bit of texture. So, I flip-flop on how I feel about it versus stockinette stitch.

I have just barely gotten past the first pattern in my Spring Flowers Shawl, so this is a very exciting time indeed. Well, exciting for me, anyhow.

springflowers083005 Garter Stitch

My friend Johanne (happy birthday, Johanne!) points out that “Spring Flowers” in Swedish is “Vårblommor,” so the shawl shall henceforth be known as the Vårblommor Shawl.

I have spoken.

My Book

A couple of people have asked where they can find my book. The answer is that you can’t . . . yet. It is scheduled for publication May of 2006. You can be sure as shootin’ that I will mention it here again when time draws near!

Lucy, You Got Some ‘Splainin’ To Do!

(By the way, several of you have asked about Lucy’s pillow — it was a birthday gift from Andrea and is shown in better detail in this blog entry.)

Snow asked:
When you got Lucy from the adoption place, did she come with the name or did you give her one of your choosing? And do you ever feel compelled to tell her she has some splainin’ to do in a Ricky Ricardo accent?

Your lavender flowered shawl is looking lovely. Are miles of edging planned?

Are you sick of my questions yet?

In reverse order:

Sick of your questions? Why, never, my dear Snow.

A couple of miles of edging are planned for the lavender shawl, or rather, the Vårblommor shawl.

The rescue organization we got Lucy from called her Grace, but that was just an interim name they gave her — we don’t know what her original name was. I had a Great-Aunt Grace, so calling a cat Grace didn’t seem quite right. Besides, she looks like a Lucy to me.

Yes, I am afraid that we are guilty of telling Lucy that she has some splainin’ to do — in a Ricky Ricardo accent. When we do, she gives us a look, like she’s thinking “My, they are stupid, aren’t they?”

What she’s probably really thinking is “I wonder if they’re going to give me catnip?”

lucy083005 Garter Stitch

Variegation is the Spice of Life

But not always.

Francie asked:
How do you pick a pattern that will work with this kind of yarn? I gravitate towards very intricate patterns of the Hazel Carter variety, such as Legends of the Shetland Seas. (Just finishing Spider Queen – yes it’s true!) I think I should be tuning it down a notch for a patterned yarn, yes?

What do you look for? A certain kind repeat? Large or small motifs? More or less background? A strong vertical or diagonal line? Garter stitch? Any type of pattern to avoid?

My own rule of thumb is the more complex the pattern, the less variegation in the yarn.

(Subject to change, of course, at my whim.)

If you are knitting a shawl that consists of one motif, done over and over, I think you could use a variegated yarn with good results.

But the Hazel Carter shawls you mention — definitely best done in a solid color.

Speaking of Variegated Yarns

springflowers082905 Variegation is the Spice of Life

The yarn I am using for my current shawl-in-progress is variegated. But in an extremely pleasant low-key kind of way. The different colors are very similar, so you get lovely shading without startling color changes. I love this yarn! Kathy, please dye some more! And if you could make some that was oh-so-gently shaded from ice-blue to silver, well, I’d be in heaven!

lucy082905 Variegation is the Spice of Life

Woodland Shawl

Wowie, wow, wow! Thanks for all your extremely kind comments on the Woodland Shawl. Here she is, blocked and ready to party.

woodland082805 Woodland Shawl

A close-up of the edging:

woodland082805a Woodland Shawl

The artistic silhouette in the window shot:

woodland082805c Woodland Shawl

And another:

woodland082805b Woodland Shawl

I had a couple of questions on how I designed her. I had the basic idea in my head, so I charted it out before beginning.

I chart on graph paper in pencil and keep a pencil with me as I knit. Then I can easily make adjustments (and notations) to the charts as I go along.

And she was knitted from less than 1 skein of Helen’s Laces. I’d say well under 1100 yards total.

I expect this pattern will be published eventually. Perhaps in my second book (cough, cough).

So . . . my current shawl-in-progress.

springflowers082805 Woodland Shawl

This is being knit from the lovely hand dyed laceweight alpaca that L-B got at Holly Spring Homespun. This yarn is extremely fine — similar in weight to the Cherry Tree Hill Suri Alpaca that I used for Inky Dinky. However, I like this better. It has a silky feel to it, and so far, I’m not noticing a tendency to split, like I did with the Suri Alpaca.

The colorway of this lovely yarn made me think of spring, so I’m doing a flower motif shawl. It’s another triangular shawl, my favorite shawl shape. This one is garter lace (Woodland is stockinette) and I’m working along on the flower motifs.

As it happens, I do have an idea for a winter-themed shawl design, so perhaps a series of seasonal designs is in order. I’ll have to rename the Woodland Shawl the Autumn Woodland Shawl, I guess.

I had not really thought ahead to a summer shawl, but I do have the beginnings of some ideas floating around in my fevered brain.

That reminds me . . . I am renaming the Summer of Lace Yahoo Group in early September. It will become “Lace for all Seasons.” icon smile Woodland Shawl

Those Dratted Ends!

Jen asked:
I just finished my first “lace” project (v. simple) and was wondering if you had any tips/techniques for weaving in ends. Mine had LOTS of garter stitch so I was able to hide my ends well, but I’m concerned that it may be difficult on a lacier pattern.

I talked about how I usually join yarn for lace work a while back. Hmmmmm . . . lemmee find it . . .

Aha! The June 2 blog entry.

Which reminds me — one of the things I like about using yarn that comes in a single skein of 1200+ yards . . .

. . . no ends to weave in, except for the beginning and end!

Shawls for Beginners

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of email asking me to recommend an easy lace pattern for new lace knitters.

I alwasy recommend something with an all-over pattern, like the Flower B asket Shawl or the Leaf Lace Shawl, both available from Fiber Trends.

Both of these projects can be knitted in a variety of yarn weights, and for a beginner, it might be a good idea to starft with something heavier than laceweight. It’s easier to get comfortable knitting lace when you using a yarn tha’s a bit more substantial than a cobwebby laceweight. Also, for a first attempt, a smooth yarn is easier to manage than something fuzzy.

Fuzzy has it’s place, says Lucy.

lucy082805 Woodland Shawl

Newsflash!

I am the King of All Remote Controls is Lucy’s and my new favorite blog.

By Golly, It’s Lace!

I finished the knitting of the edging of the Woodland Shawl.

Here she is, pre-blocking. (Cat included for scale.)

woodland082505 By Golly, Its Lace!

She took a nice leisurely bubble-bath.

woodland082505a By Golly, Its Lace!

And I blocked her. (Cat tail included for scale.)

woodland082505b By Golly, Its Lace!

By golly, it’s lace!

In my remarks about whether it is lace or crap, it was not my intention to fish for compliments, but I do thank you for the nice things you said about my shrivelled up lace!

What I was trying to express was that I really had very little clue how this would turn out until I blocked it. In my head, the patterns I used seemed to go together, but until I saw the whole thing spread out and blocked, well, it’s just durn hard to predict.

But I like it.

It’s 88 inches across the top edge, and 44 inches from top to bottom.

A close-up of the center pattern:

woodland082505c By Golly, Its Lace!

A close-up of the border pattern:

woodland082505d By Golly, Its Lace!

A close-up of the edging:

woodland082505e By Golly, Its Lace!

I’ll post more pix on Sunday.

Lucy’s excited about the blocking process.

lucy082505 By Golly, Its Lace!

Me? I’m excited about my next lace project: the Spring Flowers Shawl! Here’s a sneak preview:

springflowers082505 By Golly, Its Lace!