My current work in progress:

Beadwork, by Jade Starmore, knit from Wendy Guernsey, using 2.75mm needles.

Archives for September 2008

Sunday Shawl Report

Here we go. I did manage to make some progress on my shawl:

It’s at the point where it’s too big on the needle to spread out for a realy satisfactory picture. But I’ve still got a long way to go on it. No worries, because it is a fun knit and I’m enjoying the process.

Julie the Purple Chick had a good question in the comments:

I’m hoping you will recommend to me a shawl pattern. I am ordering the Riverside Cafe Lace Sampler pack from KnitPicks (6 different hanks of 440 yards each for a total of 2200 yards) and am a bit stumped about how to handle the use of six different colors. It seems some patterns would lend themselves better to bands of color than others. I’ve considered another option ~ holding two colors together throughout and switching the two-color combinations often to lessen the “jolt” of a clean-cut color change. And, just to make this a real challenge for you in terms of a recommendation ~ I want a fairly simple pattern. “Lace Aerobics” isn’t my sport.

My general rule of thumb: the more variegated the yarn, the simpler the pattern. I follow this rule in sock knitting, and it makes sense in lace knitting as well.

I’d go with a pattern like the Fiber Trends Leaf Lace Shawl. Or Susan Lawrence’s Forest Canopy Shawl. Or Evelyn Clark’s Shetland Triangle (which I just finished). Or Kiri, which has the advantage of being a free pattern.

A suggestion: if you are on Ravelry, look at all the projects made with Kauni Effektgarn 8/2 — that’s the self-striping yarn I made my Lismore from a few months ago. A bunch of people have used that yarn to make shawls. Browse through the project photos here (Ravelry link) for inspiration! It’ll give you a very good idea of what lace patterns look good in bands of color.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some shawl knitting to attend to. And Lucy is busy arranging her little catnip quilt.

Ann & Kay Have Done It Again

Longtime WendyKnits readers may recall how thoroughly delighted I was with the first book by Ann & Kay of Mason-Dixon Knitting a couple of years ago. Last week I was lucky enough to get my dainty paws on a review copy of their new book: Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines. The publication date of this book is next Tuesday, September 16.

If possible, I love this book even more than their first book. It has the same “feeling” as their first book. It’s treasure trove of creativity, fun, and wisdom.

The books is separated into sections, each one with a theme — like fair isle, and knitting things that children will actually wear, for example. And I was pleased to find socks, my current knitting obsession, covered in one of the sections.

I think the most amazing thing about this book is that I’ve identified two sweaters from it that I want to knit.

You may have noticed that I am “off” sweaters. I have knit exactly one this year (Lismore) and it is one that I will likely never wear. I knit it for the fun of combining the Kauni yarn with an Alice Starmore sweater. It looks great on my mannequin, but the thought of putting on a stranded wool sweater these days makes me break out in a pre-emptive sweat.

But as I said, I’ve identified two sweaters in the new Mason-Dixon book that I want to make. One of them is a glorious light-as-air little cardigan made from 2 skeins of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, the Cardi Cozy.

I think this will be perfect over a plain dress in the winter, and will be light enough to not make me feel as though I am being roasted alive. It’s a very simple pattern, with a single cable design placed in strategic spots.

The other sweater I want is The Daily Sweater.

It’s knit from Rowan Calmer (which I love) and is shaped like an updated sweatshirt. Considering pretty much the only sweaters I do wear in the winter are machine-made Eddie Bauer cotton “sweatshirt sweaters” this one definitely struck a chord with me. It’s knit top down with raglan shaping, and has a lovely little cable detail along the raglan.

So thank you, Ann & Kay. Love the book! Love you guys!

(I also love that you gave Onslow an acknowledgement as a model. You guys crack me up. Seriously.)

Back to me . . . 

Thanks for all the lovely comments on my shawl in progress. Because it looks almost the same today as yesterday, I’ll spare you a photo. Hopefully you’ll see more progress in the next update!

Lucy is ready for the weekend!


Shawl Progress

Here is a progress shot of my shawl-in-progress, as of this afternoon. It looks like I’ve made a lot of progress, doesn’t it?

(Note kitty feet in picture.)

That’s because the photo I showed you yesterday was taken Sunday afternoon. I’m a dirty rotten cheater, but I am owning up to it.

Here’s a close-up of one of the lace motifs.

I’m using a U.S. size 5 (3.75mm) needle to knit this. I didn’t swatch beforehand. I eyeballed the yarn, eyeballed the pattern, and picked a size. I wanted the resulting fabric to be lacy, but not too open, or I felt I’d lose some of the integrity of the motifs. When it comes time to block, I’ll do it somewhat gently. I often block shawls within an inch of their life, but that’s for stuff that really benefits from a severe blocking to open up the stitches. I think this design will be happy with moderate blocking.

Lucy sez:

“The work of a photo-stylist is never done.”

Behold. It’s a Shawl.

I am knitting a shawl from my yummy handspun yarn.

The yarn is handspun merino/tencel blends, purchased from The Opalescence. It’s laceweight — just over 100 grams and 895 yards. The colorway is a lovely shimmering blue-green and is called Hanauma Bay.

The shawl is my own design. It’s triangular, and the lace motif is sort of shaped like a medallion. I’m calling the pattern “Talisman Shawl” for reasons that are obvious to me. 😉

I decided to knit another handspun shawl because I enjoyed knitting my Shetland Triangle so much using the lovely handspun I got from Zarzuela’s Fibers. And I’m happy to say that Opal’s yarn is fabulous too. I’m in awe of her spinning. Check out this close-up:

I love the sheen and drapeyness of this yarn. The tencel is no doubt responsible for that. I think this will be a wonderful airy shawl when it is done.

In other news, Lucy forgave me very quickly for my appalling gaffe in photographing her wearing a hat. My apology included poached chicken breast. She even consented to ham it up for the camera.

More on the BSJ

There were some questions in the comments to yesterday’s post on the Baby Surprise Jacket.

Bonney asked:

Some people have said this sweater has a bit of challenge to it. Is there any truth in that?

I think the only challenge in this design is to follow the instructions to the letter. I had a hard time visualizing how the blog of knitting was going to morph itself into a jacket until I was well over halfway done with it. So you just have to trust the the instructions are right and plow on. After you’ve knit one of them, I can imagine it would be a lot easier to knit another with mods, since you’ll have the concept down.

Heather T commented:

I have a couple of questions – what gauge did you get and what are the finished dimensions (chest circumference, sleeves, etc)?

My gauge was about 6 sts/inch using Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport. The chest circumference is 20″, the length of the sleeve measured from underarm down to cuff is 4.5″, and the length of the jacket from neck to hem is 20″.

Kittything asked

As a knitter who is usually doing color, or cables, or lace, was a garter stitch project boring for you?

No, it went by too quickly to be boring, really. And there is a lot going on in the pattern by way of shaping, so that keeps it entertaining. Also, I’ve been knitting stealth projects while I do the projects that appear on my blog, so there is some entertainment in variety.

Karen asked

Are there buttonholes on both sides of the front?

Yes there are! That’s the way it is designed. I think this is so you can knit the sweater ahead of time and then after the baby is born, when you find out if it is a girl or a boy, you can sew the buttons over the holes on the appropriate side. Clever, no?

While I know that the baby is going to be a boy, I decided to go ahead and knit it as written for 2 reasons. Reason number 1 — it’ll be easy to place the buttons on it because the holes show exactly where to put them. Reason number 2, while I was knitting I couldn’t remember which side you put the buttons for a boy and was too lazy to find out. It’s the right side for boys, right?

Danielle asked:

Can the BSJ be made for an older child easily? I’m thinking about getting a couple of EZ books and have a few 2nd cousins that are wee ones (from 6mo to 2 yrs) that I could make some of this for 🙂

The pattern is written so that you can change the size of the sweater depending on the weight of yarn and needle size. So yes, it can be sized up!

I did suck it up and make a little hat to go with it.

No pattern, just do 2×2 ribbing for 2 inches, then knit for 3 inches, then decrease down for the top. I started with 72 stitches on a 3.25mm needle for the ribbing and switched to a 3.5mm needle for the plain stockinette.

I did start a project in my lovely handspun laceweight merino/tencel blend laceweight (purchased from The Opalescence).

But I’ll talk about that tomorrow.

Of course I had to go and do this:

Lucy sez:

“I know where you sleep. Be afraid.”