My current work in progress:

1. Drachenfels, designed by Melanie Berg, knit from Madelintosh Pashmina in the Black Walnut, Seasalt, and Mineral colorways on a 4 mm (U.S. size 6) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

A Free Day

I was pretty much gobsmacked yesterday afternoon when OPM announced that the federal government in the D.C. area would be closed today but hey! I’ll take it!

Here’s the view from this morning:

Morning122109 240x160 A Free Day

The sun was coming out. Yay!

Street122109 240x160 A Free Day

Things are looking good down on the street. I went out and ran some errands. The streets were fine. The parking lots, not so much. Very icy.

I also finished this:

before122109 240x160 A Free Day

My Talisman Shawl. It sure doesn’t look like much in that photo, does it? The pre-blocked dimensions are 48″ by 24″.

Blocking achieved this miracle:

Talismanblocked122109 240x134 A Free Day

After blocking, it’s 64″ wide by 34″ down the center back. Knit from one skein of Wollmeise, with just 14 grams leftover.

Here’s a close-up of the lace pattern:

TalismanCloseup122109 240x160 A Free Day

Here’s what I started today:

WIP122109 240x160 A Free Day

Care to hazard a guess as to what it is?

Miss Lucy slept through the blocking of the Talisman Shawl today. I’m sure she’s kicking herself that she missed out on helping me. But I turned the heat on this past weekend and she’s been happily sleeping through the most exciting events.

Lucy122109 240x160 A Free Day

Dry Spell

It was a dark and dreary morning . . .

Morning121309 240x160 Dry Spell

I seem to have hit a bit of a dry spell with the knitting.

See, in less than a month I am embarking on the Unique Sheep’s Enchanted Wood Lace Shawl Knit-Along. We start January 10 (if I remember correctly). I’m sorta sick of socks for the moment. So what to knit?

Aside: I did finish my socks-in-progress, see?

Socks121309 160x240 Dry Spell

They are sportweight, knit from Fiesta Boomerang in the “White Zinfandel” colorway (which is one of my all-time favorite colorways). I like the socks, but as I was knitting the second sock I thought of some ways I want to adjust the pattern a bit. So i shall be winkling it a bit at some point and knitting another pair.

But not right now.

I am feeling uninspired, so what to do?

Wollmeise to the rescue!

Wollmeise121309 240x160 Dry Spell

This is Wollmeise sock yarn in the “Rhubarber” colorway. I started knitting some lace with it last night, but I didn’t like my results — I was using too large a needle (a U.S. size 7 – 4.5mm). I didn’t have other needles handy just then, so I just frogged the bit I did and will start again today with a size 5, I think.

I tend to like more “solid” lace, particularly when I’m using a variegated yarn. While this colorway isn’t wildly variegated, there are definite shifts of color. If I knit on too large a needle, the open-ness of the fabric plus the shifts in color detracts from the lace pattern.

Tune in tomorrow to see how successful I am!

Before I start in on the knitting, I have some gifts to wrap.

Wrapping121309 240x160 Dry Spell

And Lucy is getting ready to settle in for a long winter’s nap!

Lucy121309 240x210 Dry Spell

Success

As I mentioned before, for me, knitting up a lace pattern on the fly can be a hit or miss proposition. I know what I want it to look like when it is done and blocked, but I don’t know if reality is going to match what I visualize in my fevered brain.

Here’s my shawlette pre-blocking:

Before120609 240x148 Success

It is 48″ across the top edge and 21″ down the center back.

And here it is after blocking:

After120609 240x136 Success

(If you click on the photo you can see a larger size that shows the detail quite nicely.)

After blocking it is 66″ across the top edge and 30″ down the center back.

And I’m happy with it — it looks the way I envisioned it. icon smile Success

The pattern will be available — eventually. You might have noticed that I’ve not written up patterns for my past few projects. I’ve got a lot of “stuff” on my plate and simply don’t have right now to release any new patterns. But I appreciate very much that so many of you ask and want to knit my stuff! In time, you can!

You may note that there was no small fluffy kitty reclining on it in either photo. Small fluffy kitty is here:

Lucy120609 240x160 Success

Happily snuggled up on her sheepskin!

It’s Wimplicious!

Hearty thanks to Gail for coining that phrase in the comments yesterday.

Yesterday evening I sucked it up and finished the wimple I was working on, while watching The Diary of a Chambermaid on television. The film is in French and has English subtitles, but as I was doing mindless stockinette, and I do know some French, I could happily knit and watch at the same time.

Wimple101509 160x240 Its Wimplicious!

I did 4 rows of garter stitch at the edge before binding off, using a Russian bind-off.

In the interests of full disclosure, the wimple is clipped together under the neck of my disembodied head, because it is smaller than an average sized human head. The wimple fits nicely on my head sans binder clip.

I made this wimple using approximately 350 yards of Alchemy Juniper sock yarn and a US size 7 (4.5mm) needle. I started by knitting a lace edging and joined it to make a tube, then picked up stitches along the top edge, and knit a lace pattern up from there, decreasing a bit as I knit. Then I increased a bit after the neck and just knit straight after that.

Wuimplecloseup101509 240x160 Its Wimplicious!

The pattern will be available at some point. And for now it is called “It’s Wimplicious!”

So now I am concentrating on my Two-Thirds Shawl, being knit from Handmaiden Mini Maiden in the “periwinkle” colorway.

Shawl101509 240x160 Its Wimplicious!

At this point I have approximately 350 stitches in each row so a row takes a whole freaking lot of time to complete. But it is fun to knit, and the pattern is so nicely geometric that not only do I not need stitchmarkers to separate the repeats, but I need only glance at the chart at the beginning of a pattern row (wrong side rows are just purled across) to remember it for the row. It’s close to being mindless knitting, so it came on the train with me today.

And I may need to find another foreign film with subtitles to watch tonight while knitting. icon wink Its Wimplicious!

Lucy sez:

Lucy101509 240x218 Its Wimplicious!

“I’m just hanging with my pink mouse. Whatcha doin’?”

What Happened to the True Love Stole?

In yesterday’s comments, Hannah asked:

What happened to the True Love Stole?

This is what happened to it:

Stole093009 160x240 What Happened to the True Love Stole?

I finished it!

That’s a pic of it unblocked. Even as we speak it is relaxing in a nice bath of woolwash and blocking will commence momentarily.

But meanwhile, I am knitting on my new super-not-so-secret project:

WIP093009 240x160 What Happened to the True Love Stole?

This is the beginning of a shawl being knit from Tempted Luxe Grrl yarn. The colorway is un-named, as Stacy custom-dyed it for me when I requested a blue-green almost-solid. Isn’t it gorgeous?

The yarn is fabulous to knit — it is sport/dk weight and a blend of 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, and 10% Nylon. I’m knitting it on a larger than recommended needle (a US size 7) and getting 4.5 stitches to the inch. I wanted a nice drapey fabric because I’m knitting lace.

The shape is a more-than-triangle — extra increases on the front edges result in the nice shaping that will make the shawl stay put on your shoulders. Because it is a heavier weight yarn, I opted for a stronger non-fussy lace pattern.

Right now I’m calling it the Stacy Shawl and I’m liking the name. The shawl reminds me of Stacy: strong, beautiful, and straightforward!

Now don’t quote me on this, but there is a very strong possibility that this pattern will become available in a very fun way (she said mysteriously).

Lucy sez:

Lucy093009 240x160 What Happened to the True Love Stole?

“Please thank Miz Stacy for dyeing pretty yarn for a blankie for me!

In other news, I need to change the name of my Bamboozled socks as a reader pointed out there is already a design by that name. And here I thought I was being so clever . . .