My current work in progress:

1. Strandwanderer, designed by Lea Viktoria, knit from Wollmeise Merino "Pure" in the "Zenzi" colorway on a 3.25 mm (U.S. size 3) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Oy With the Sleeve

As I may have mentioned in the past, the Deirdre design has a row gauge of 8 rows to the inch. This is due to the way the cable I am using pulls the fabric — it just sucks up rows like nobody’s business!

So I knit and knit and knit and knit (and then I knit some more) on this danged sleeve and I see very little progress.

deirdre053106 Oy With the Sleeve

At this point in the knitting, I still have more than 50 rows to work before I start the cap shaping. Yikes. And this is just the first sleeve. Again, yikes.

But I do really really like the way this design is looking. Even if it does suck rows into a parallel universe, never to be seen or heard from again.

I’ll take this pesky sleeve with me this weekend when I head to points south for more book signings. Hopefully I’ll at least get the first sleeve done and the second one started.

Then, as a reward for sleeving above and beyond the call of duty, I will allow myself to knit something from my yummy handpainted laceweight cashmere. Mmmmmmmmmm!

By the way, in answer to a couple of questions I’ve gotten, Deirdre does have some shaping in the body to give it a gentle hourglass shape.

In the meantime, my second sock is coming along nicely.

sock053106 Oy With the Sleeve

And Lucy is jazzed!

lucy053106 Oy With the Sleeve

Life After Lace

Although I can hear the handpainted laceweight cashmere that I bought at School Products screaming at me (screaming, I tell you), I am resisting its siren song. For now.

Because I have returned to Deirdre.

After I finished the Flower Basket Shawl this past weekend (and thank you so much for all the kind things you had to say about it!) I sucked it up and finished Deirdre’s front.

deirdre052906 Life After Lace

I joined the front and the back at the shoulders, and did an applied i-cord around the neck.

deirdre052906a Life After Lace

I am quite liking the way it looks.

deirdre052906b Life After Lace

By the way, Nancie Wiseman’s The Knitter’s Book of Finishing Techniques documents the applied i-cord finish, along with a lot of other incredibly useful things. I highly recommend this book — it has clear, easy-to-follow instructions, pictures, and pros and cons for every technique described. Just sayin’.

So, I have embarked on a Deirdre sleeve. I’ll save the photo for tomorrow — such excitement!

I guess this puts me smack-dab in the middle of Sleeve Island, huh? Where the heck is that cabana boy with my foofy girly drink?

But back to the Flower Basket Shawl. Susan asked:
Did you make any changes to the pattern?
Moving all the markers made me crazy when I made it last year. It was one of my first lace projects, so I was a bit nervous about it — but did you use markers or just memorize the pattern?

I made no changes to the pattern, and it actually worked out so that I finished it with just a small ball of yarn left over. Very satisfying.

While I more or less memorized the pattern, I did use stitch markers as well. You do have to move them at the beginning of each new pattern repeat of 10 rows, and for a couple of rows after that. The moving at the beginning of the pattern repeat did not bother me, as you are adding a marker and then just moving the rest to the left a few stitches. But for a couple of rows after that, the stitch markers move by one stitch in the middle of decreases and yarnovers. I took care of that by working the yarnover on the previous pattern row before the marker instead of after, so I was set up for the next pattern row. Make sense? Probably not, if you don’t have the pattern in front of you. But it works, and you can avoid those pesky one-stitch moves if you think ahead!

Lucy Sez

“Enough of that — time for a cheesecake pic, I think!

lucy052906a Life After Lace

(P.S. — Happy birthday, Mom!)

There’s Something About Lace

That just makes me happy.

What is it?

It is that you can take a pile of your own handspun. Handspun that is spun in a thickness that goes from fingering to sport and back again. Handspun that is overplied in some places and underplied in others. Handspun that you inexpertly spun into stripes in some places and heather in others.

And you can knit it into something that looks like this:

fbs052806a Theres Something About Lace

The handspun is 50/50 wool/mohair, and I bought the roving from Tintagel Farm at the 2005 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

fbso52906 Theres Something About Lace

I used a total of 10 ounces of the resulting yarn to knit my Flower Basket Shawl on U.S. size 7 needles.

fbs052906a Theres Something About Lace

fbs052906b Theres Something About Lace

Wishing a good Memorial Day to all who celebrate it.

fbs052906c Theres Something About Lace

Sock Yarn is Not the Problem. Rather, It Is the Solution.

Thank you, Bakerina, for those words of wisdom.

This good advice was running through my head when Blogless L-B (hee hee!) emailed me to let me know that Blue Moon Fiber Arts updated their website. Be still, my heart.

There is a distinct possibility that there is more sock yarn heading my way.

But, as Wenders pointed out (and very astutely, I might add) “just like broken cookies, sock yarn TOTALLY doesn’t count!”

I liked Phyl’s comment too: “If there were a 12-step program, we’d need a new pair of socks for each step, right?” Phyl, I think you are on to something!

Anyway . . .

sock052806 Sock Yarn is Not the Problem. Rather, It Is the Solution.

Here’s my first Claudia Handpainted sock (Sarah, it does smell ever-so-slightly of lemon dish soap!).

I did a little lace-ribby thang around the top — like the lace pattern on my last socks, but threw in some purls for good measure.

sock052806a Sock Yarn is Not the Problem. Rather, It Is the Solution.

It’s a 6-stitch pattern repeat:

Row 1: (p2, yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, yo, p1) around.
Rows 2 – 4: (p2, k3, p1) around

Phoebe asked:
I have a question for you. When you’re making socks for someone else, is there a formula or percentage you use to work the heel and toe (to know how many stitches to work down to)? Or do you just eyeball it?

I just eyeball it. I sometimes think that future sock recipients wonder why I stare at their feet — heh! Generally, I make the toe and heel about one-third of the total circumference of the sock.

In the comments last week, Pam asked:
A question about knitting tension. I noticed in the Virtual Yarns FAQ the opinion expressed that knitters should be able to control tension (which I assume = gauge?)with their hands, rather than changing needles. I’m a very tight knitter. I thought knitting tight or loose was a given, like being short or tall. But maybe not???? You’ve knit so many beautiful Starmore designs. What is your experience?

I can control my tension with my hands. I find it pretty easy, but that might have something to do with my pick-up-and-wrap style of knitting.

Anyone else care to weigh in?

Turn On, Tune In, Spin Out

Dudes, Cara is getting all 1960s on us! No doubt you’ve all seen her announcement for the Spin Out on June 24th in Central Park. How I wish I could be there! But I did order one of her freaked out t-shirts (follow the links from her blog entry to buy swag!), and donated to Heifer International via her registry page. You can too, and there are prizes to be had, people! Heifer International is one of my favorite charities, so I am so pleased to see them benefit from this event. All hail Cara!

I Finished My Flower Basket Shawl

Here it is, in its pre-blocked state:

fbs052806 Sock Yarn is Not the Problem. Rather, It Is the Solution.

I just finished blocking it, but will save the blocked photos for tomorrow. Tune in then!

Lucy sez:

lucy052806 Sock Yarn is Not the Problem. Rather, It Is the Solution.

“Gee. I can hardly wait.”

Just In Case You Wondered

Remember how I gave away all my sock yarn a couple of months ago?

Well, yeah, I bought more since then.

sockyarn052506 Just In Case You Wondered

Have I mentioned that I have a compulsive personality? Is there a 12-step program for sock yarn acquisition?

Yarn Shop Organization

Judging from the comments, most of you feel as I do — arrange the yarn in a yarn shop according to weight. I mean . . . I wouldn’t want to have trouble finding the sock yarn, you know?

Speaking of Sock Yarn

I turned the heel! I turned the heel! Woot! Woot! Woot!

sock052506 Just In Case You Wondered

I really like this yarn (Claudia Handpainted Yarn). It’s soft and has a lovely sheen to it. Now I’m wishing I had bought all the Claudia Handpainted Sock Yarn they had at Stix-n-Stitches (see “compulsive personality,” above).

Basil and Abner’s Critter Charity Drive

I mentioned this the other day — go read all about it on Rebekah’s blog — she’s got links to patterns you might like to use, lots of great prizes, and it’s for a great cause!

Lucy says “Just do it!”

lucy052506 Just In Case You Wondered

Lucy also says (my, she is a chatty gal today, huh?): Go to my Daddy’s blog and vote for my super-hero/super-villian name!

Here in the U.S. it’s a long weekend. Hopefully I’ll have better progress to show when next I blog!