My current work in progress:

1. Mighty Mini, designed by Rachel Henry, knit from Socks That Rock Worthy in the "Tanzanite" and "The Green That Sings" colorways on a 3.0 mm needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Sheepish

A couple of months ago I was sent an advance read copy of Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool to Save the Planet by Catherine Friend.

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(Don’t you love the cover art?)

I read (and loved) her previous memoir, Hit by a Farm, a few years ago. Catherine Friend is a former city girl who moved to a small farm with her partner and Hit by a Farm is a memoir of that experience. Sheepish sort of picks up where the previous book left off. Catherine Friend is (in my oh so humble opinion) a great writer — she is funny, warm, insightful, and simply a joy to read. And one heck of a nice person, besides (I’ve emailed back and forth with her a few times. Catherine, if you are reading this, did you give “The Buccaneers” DVD another chance?)

Anyhow, this book has the WendyKnits Seal of Approval and I encourage all of you fiber artists to get yourself a copy and read it for yourself.

Or you can try to win a copy in my giveaway.

Catherine’s publisher has offered to send two free copies of Sheepish to a couple of my readers. To be entered in the random drawing, leave a comment to this blog post by 4:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at which time I will draw two names at random.

Tidepool Spiral Shawl

Ive finalized the pattern for the Tidepool Spiral Shawl and it is available for sale in my Ravelry store for the low low price of $5.00. Get ‘em while they’re hot.

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New Project! New Project!

I started a new shawl. Here it is:

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Doesn’t look like much yet, does it? Actually, this photo is a couple of days old so I am further along — though not by much. I did some ripping and re-adjusting of the pattern.

This is a pi shawl (don’t know what a pi shawl is? See this blog entry for a discussion!) being knit from Wollmeise Lacegarn (yum) in the “Fliederbusch” colorway (yum yum).

Do you like how the yarn matches the color of my lovely Signature Needle Arts needle?

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I am knitting this shawl using a U.S. size 4, which in the world of  Signature Needle Arts is purple. (Incidentally, did you see that they now have their glorious circulars available in a U.S. size 9? The size 9 is also purple.)

I am using mainly Estonian lace patterns for this pi shawl (or rather, for the most part my adaptations of Estonian lace patterns) so I am calling it “Estonian Pi.”

Lucy is likely dreaming of Mouse Pie. Or maybe Salmon Pie.

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See you guys on Sunday when the next clue of the Summer Mystery Shawlette will be released. Late morning. Be there or be square!

Summer Mystery Shawlette First Chart

Alrighty — do you have your stitches cast on and your two set-up rows done? If you don’t, no worries — it won’t take you long to get that done. My last blog entry had the information for getting started, plus the link to the pdf document with the preliminary information.

ETA: Okay guys, I’m an idiot — the preliminary info was wrong — it should have been cast on 241 (don’t know how this got past both me and my tech editor). My deepest apologies!

So you don’t have to rip out your cast-on, on the first chart row, for the first and last chart stitch, simply k1 rather than do the decrease — so you would start the chart “k1, yo, ssk” and then work to the end of the chart. Then on the second side of the chart, end it “k2tog, yo, k1.” Make sense?

I’m correcting the preliminary info document to make it read cast on 241.

Now here is Part One of the pattern (in pdf format). This part has the first chart, which consists of 12 rows, and these 12 rows also written out line-by-line. Have fun! icon biggrin Summer Mystery Shawlette First Chart

For those of you enlarging your shawl (by adding an extra 48 stitches), you will work each 12-stitch pattern repeat two more times (24 stitches) on each side of your shawl.

I encourage you (especially those of you new to lace) to place a stitch marker in-between each repeat of the pattern — it’ll make it much easier to keep track of where you are.

In the Ravelry discussion thread for this project I note a lot of talk about achieving gauge. Don’t be too concerned with this. The goal is to use a needle size a couple or few sizes larger than you would normally use with your yarn so that you get a nice loose fabric that will block out well and make the lace pattern really pop.

The next piece of the mystery will be posted in my blog on Sunday, May 22 at approximately 11:00am EDT. But be sure to stop by on Thursday the 19th, because I’ll have a giveaway for you.

Tidepool

I finished my circular shawl on Sunday. I’m calling the design “Tidepool” because that’s what it reminds me of.

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I used Dream in Color Everlasting Sock in the Surf colorway. It took 3 full skeins plus a bit of a 4th skein, so I’m estimating 1400 yards total (being a bit generous with the yardage).

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Unblocked, this baby was about 42″ in diameter. After I steam-blocked it, it grew to about 60″ in diameter.

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I steam-blocked it instead of wet blocking for a couple of reasons. One, because I think I would have had to move furniture to get enough floor space for blocking. Two, I don’t think my back was up for it!

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Pattern coming soon.

Lucy is all a-quiver with anticipation.

Lucy051711 240x160 Summer Mystery Shawlette First Chart

Summer Mystery Shawlette

I’m happy to see that so many of you are going to knit along on the Summer Mystery Shawlette.

I have worked up a document (in pdf format) with all the preliminary information you need, along with the cast-on and shawl set-up. It is here. The link will be available from my Free Patterns page soon as well. And from the Ravelry pattern page too. Read this document first. (A note to advanced knitters who want to resize — add stitches in groups of 48 to make it bigger.)

Now, some guidance,

Skill Level

There is nothing that is terribly difficult to do in this shawl. You need to be able to cast on and bind off, knit and purl, and execute the following stitches (the links are to instructions for how to do each stitch):

The pattern is both charted and written out so you can choose which method works best for you.

Choosing Yarn

I’d say that for yarn you will want to lean towards less variegated rather than wildly variegated. The more solid your yarn color, the more the lace pattern will show. Some subtle variegation will work, though. I’m using a semi-solid: Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in the Mulled Wine colorway.

Yarn051511 240x189 Summer Mystery Shawlette

Choosing Needles

My shawl is worked on a 24″ Signature Needle Arts circular with stiletto tips. I think it is easiest worked back and forth on a circular needle, and I find a 24″ needle just right for the number of stitches cast on. Remember, this is worked from the bottom up, so you start with the most stitches you will ever have, and work down to fewer. To start, I wouldn’t go any smaller than a 24″ length because you’ll have your stitches bunched up a lot of the time. As you work your way up, you can transfer your work to a shorter needle, but I am happy leaving mine on a 24-incher.

A 32″ needle is fine as well if you don’t have a 24″ length.

Note that you will also need a needle 2 sizes larger than the size you are going to use to knit your shawl (see “Getting Gauge” below). This is for the cast-on only (to make sure it is nice and stretchy) and you will immediately knit the stitches off this larger needle onto the one you will be using to knit your shawl on the first set-up row.

Getting Gauge

The unblocked gauge is 5 stitches to an inch in stockinette stitch, and I get that with a U.S. size 5 needle (but I’m a loose knitter). If you know you are a tight knitter, do a little swatch with a size 6.

But remember, this is lace, so gauge is not terribly important. You just wanna be in the ballpark. And if you have a choice between 4.75 stitches to an inch or 5.25 stitches to an inch on two different needle sizes, go for the size that gives you the looser gauge rather than the tighter (i.e. 4.75 stitches to the inch).

Casting On

The pattern specifies either a long-tail cast-on or a lace cast-on(scroll down for the lace cast-on), but really, you can do whatever cast-on you are most comfortable with that will give you a stretchy edge. The cast-on is done on a larger needle to aid in stretchiness. I almost always do a long-tail cast-on.

Beads?

I’ve not included an option to bead the shawl because I am not a fan of beaded knitting as a rule. I prefer to knit my knits unadorned. icon smile Summer Mystery Shawlette That doesn’t mean you can’t add beads if you wanna!

Ravelry Discussion

Remember, there’s a discussion thread for this project in the Wendyknits Ravelry group, here.

Timing

The next piece of the pattern will be released on Tuesday (May 17) — I’ll post it here in my blog. There are a total of five parts of the pattern — here is the release schedule:

  • Preliminary Information — cast-on and set-up — today
  • Part One — Chart A, 12 rows — Tuesday, May 17, around 4:30pm
  • Part Two — Chart B, 12 rows — Sunday, May 22, around 11:00am
  • Part Three — Chart C, 72 rows — Thursday. May 26, around 4:30pm
  • Part Four — Chart D, 20 rows, and finishing instructions — Thursday June 2, around 4:30pm

Note that Part Three is a big chunk — I wanted it to be released before Memorial Day weekend (here in the U.S.) so those of you who have extra knitting time can indulge. But remember, because you are knitting from the bottom up, the rows get shorter and shorter, so it is not as daunting as it sounds!

That’s the schedule. However, you are welcome to knit at your own speed. If you prefer, wait until the entire pattern is released and start then. No pressure here!

Lucy is clearly feeling no pressure.

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Change of Plans and a Mystery Shawl

Well, that did not last long.

I’ve ripped out the start of the Sabine Cardigan I started earlier this week and am sending the yarn back to the bullpen.

A few reasons . . . first off, I did not like the fabric I was getting — way too “loose” and open for what I wanted. That is how the cardi is supposed to look, but it’s not what I really wanted. Second, I really don’t enjoy knitting laceweight on U.S. size 8 needles. Third, most of the knitting is plain stockinette and was boring as hell.

So. Three reasons for abandonment. Moving on.

I’m still plugging away on the spiral shawl at home.

I started a small sideways shawl in some sportweight yarn, but was feeling rather “meh” about it.

Then I had an idea. Always dangerous.

Anyone want to knit a mystery shawl with me?

I’ve designed yet another bottom-up triangular shawl and I am fairly excited about the design. It’s smaller than the last few I’ve done, designed to be knit with one skein of sock yarn (approximately 350 – 400 yards).

I’ll release the pattern (free!) in pieces, in pdf format, here on my blog. There will be charts, and there will also be (god help me) instructions written out line by line.

I’ve started a thread for the Summer Mystery Shawl in my Ravelry Group so there is a forum for discussion.

In the next blog entry (Sunday) I’ll discuss yarn choices, needle sizes, and what skills you need to be able to knit the shawl. Then I’ll release the first bit of the pattern next Tuesday (May 17). ETA: I’ll release a wee bit of the pattern on Sunday the 15th — the cast-on and 2-row setup — so you’ll be ready to jump into the first part of the lace pattern on the 17th. icon smile Change of Plans and a Mystery Shawl

Anyone wanna play?

Lucy sez:

Lucy051211 160x240 Change of Plans and a Mystery Shawl

“I’d play, but I see a bird outside the window and that is more important.”

Now With More Linkage

My spiral shawl has become a bit too much for me to schlep on the train, so it has been relegated to “at-home only” knitting.

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Specifically, it is now “at-home with the air conditioning on” knitting. This makes quite a lapful of wooly warmth while I work on it. Combine that with a lapful of purring quivering kitty love and I am in for a very warm time indeed.

So . . . I started something else for commuter knitting.

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This is the beginning of Sabine, a top-down raglan cardi from CocoKnits. Because I am almost always too warm, I chose to knit mine from a non-wool yarn. I am using Tilli Tomas Voile de la Mer, which is a silk/seacell blend laceweight and is one of my favorite lace yarns. (There may be a little lace cardi in my upcoming book knit from this yarn.)

I purchased my Voile de la Mer (in black) from Kpixie, who always has a nice selection and great customer service.

Although this is laceweight yarn, it is knit at a very loose gauge (to achieve the drapey look of the cardi).I will likely make several mods to the pattern because there are some elements I don’t like (for example, the two lines of yarnovers down the back do not appeal to me) and I may make short sleeves — but I haven’t decided on the sleeves yet.

I am using a U.S. size 8 needle, and the observant among you will note that the needle I am using is one of my beloved Signature Needle Arts circulars.

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I believe the U.S. size 8 was the latest addition to their line of circular needles.

Because I love my Signature Needle Arts circulars, I purchased a Della Q Lily circular needle case to house them.

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And keep them away from a certain nosy kitty.

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“You talking to me?”