Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dance of the Butterflies 2

I'm making progress on the new scarf after a bit of a wrong turn on chart 3. It looked great on graph paper, but knitted up the motifs looked too squished together. I think this is the first time my DH noticed that I did a serious amount of ripping. He seemed quite alarmed. ;) I fixed the chart, spreading the motifs out in both direction. Now it looks much better! It's also good to know that the Dream In Color rips well. I'm liking this yarn very much!

Chart 4 is the central bit of the pattern, 16 repeats of it makes up the bulk of the chart. I'm about halfway done with the blue scarf as of today. I wasn't sure how the pattern in the edging would look, but I'm liking it! Really frames the knitting nicely.

As for the Infinity scarf, I've knitted through chart 2 so far. I'll get back to it soon. The soysilk is a little fussier to knit. It's very slippery. I think it will look gorgeous when it's done, but right now I'm not in the mood to pay that much attention.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Blocking Lace- Part 2

Looked all over, bought new pins, found the old ones. ;) Now I have lots. All the loops have been pinned out and I can get the other stuff out. I have done all of this dry. Now I need to wet it and starch it.

I have a plant mister that works really well for wetting it down. I mist it pretty thoroughly, then let the cotton absorb the water for a bit. You don't want it dripping wet, but the whole surface should be damp.

The little bottle has a 50/50 mixture of liquid starch and water. Spray pretty thoroughly with this one, too, but don't go overboard. A 50/50 mix is on the strong side, but the water already in the cotton dilutes it a bit. What I look for is even coverage. Make sure you spray the whole surface so you don't get limp spots. I usually go over the whole thing once in horizontal lines, then again vertically. Go around the edge once for good measure. Set the board up against something and let it dry thoroughly. When it's totally dry, unpin it and find somplace for it to live where you can enjoy it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blocking Lace- Part 1

I finished knitting the snowflake doily last week and thought I would take this opportunity to take pictures as I block it. No matter how many times I knit lace and block it, I'm still amazed at the transformation a little water and tension cause.

Everybody seems to have their own favorite way to block lace. This is how I do it lately.

My blocking board is a piece of foamcore. You can get it cheaply and easily in 20x30" sheets or 32x40" sheets. This is a small one. Since this doily had 6 repeats, I used a board divided into 6, then 12 sections. If you use a sharpie the marks won't rub off. I made a mark every inch along each line (the center point is zero, 1" mark is 1" from center, etc.) so I can stretch it out evenly. I mark each 5th inch mark with the number of inches so I don't have to count too much. You can put marks for different numbers of repeats on either size, so for instance on this particular board I can block things with 6 or 12 sections on one side and 5 or 10 sections on the other. I just make them as I need them, then use them over and over.

So you get a bunch of t-pins (a big bunch, you'll need one for every cast-off loop), find the center of the doily, put a pin through it and stick the pin through the center point on the board, where all the lines come together. This keeps it centered as you stretch the doily and add pins. Also lets you know if you've gotten it a bit wonky. I've tried the flower pins, but they are a bit on the wimpy side and tend to bend. T-pins are much sturdier.

This doily has 6 main sections so I found the same point on all 6 sections and pinned them out. For this one I used the center of the edge frill right at the corners of the lacy part. Eachone is different and you can pick any spot you like, but it's easier if you choose the center of something. You want to put a pin througha bit of knitting right on the edge, or a chain stitch loop, and pull it towards you a comfortable amount. No need to pull it very tight, just get the slack out of it plus a little. Check which inch mark you are near and try to keep them all the same distance from the center. If you start out too tight (while there is only tension in one direction) it will be hard to keep the tension even as you pin out the rest of it (when there will be tension in several directions). Angle the pins a little bit away from the center so they hold tight and the knitting doesn't slip towards the t section.

Next pin out a point halfway between the first points. In this design there was another edge frill on the center of the straight edge, so I used that. This set of pins doesn't need to be pinned at the same distance from the center as the first set, but all of the pins in this set need to be at the same distance as the others in this set. For a round or square doily, anyway.

Next you pin out a spot between the first set and the second set, right in between them if you can. This doily has sticking stitch points, so that choice is easy. This set doesn't have to be the same distance out as the other sets, but they should be the same distance as each other.

Now it's time to pin out the individual loops. Start next to the points you have pinned out and work out towards the others. Once the 2 loops in either side of an original pin are placed you can remove the original pin if you like. You can pull the lace a bit farther out or release a little tension at this point to enhance the over all effect, or if you are not happy with the choice you nade earlier. You can decide, based on the design and what you see in it, to make the edges curvy or straight, or ?. This one had such a geometric feel to it that I've decided to reinforce that by pinning out the edge frill to make an angle.

At this point, I've gone through the first box of pins and need to find the other one before I can proceed any further.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dance of the Butterflies

A few weeks ago, someone bought a Butterfly Pi shawl pattern and asked me if I could convert it into a scarf pattern. I said I'd give it a go, so that's what I've been working on for the past few weeks. I had to do a lot more recharting than I thought, but I really like the design and have started knitting a couple to see what it looks like. I bought a skein of Dream in Color Baby in the color Some Summer Sky for one of them, and a cone of lilac South West Trading Company Infinity for the other.

The Dream in Color is a bit on the heavy side for laceweight, but it knits up really nicely. I'm using size 5 needles and knitting this scarf from the handwritten charts. So far I've knitted through chart 2. It'll be a nice warm scarf when it's done.

The Infinity soysilk is much thinner, so I'm knitting it on size 2 needles. It'll be better suited to a warm climate or indoor wear, and I can tell already that it'll drape beautifully. I'm proofing the spreadsheet chart with this one, to make sure everything got entered correctly. I finished the edging chart a few days ago.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Japanese Mystery Scarf

I cast on another Japanese Mystery Scarf this weekend. This fulfills 2 goals: I need to knit more things for the HGB Sale, and I needed something I could knit and not pay much attention to. I bought a couple more skeins of Mini Mochi and cast on Saturday. I love the autumn colors!

When it's done, it should look something like this:

If you'd like a copy of the pattern to make your own scarf, use the PayPal button at right and I'll email you a copy.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Community Knitting Score!

I went to Community Knitting yesterday morning at Mew Mew's Yarn Shop for the first time. In the bin of donated yarn was a gorgeous skein of hand spun yarn, hand dyed with Kool-Aid. Sue, the shop owner, spun and dyed it herself. I know I don't get to keep it, but I do get to play with it for a while. ;) I love the colors! Just the thing to cheer someone up on the dead of winter.

I cast on 31 stitches on size 10.5 needles for a domino scarf. I'll just keep making squares until I run out of yarn.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Snowflake Doily

This weekend I decided to take a break from "should" knitting and do some "want to" knitting. Yay! I needed a break. On Friday night I cast on the lovely Niebling doily from the spring issue of Anna magazine. It isn't named, but it reminds me of a snowflake. I'm using the leftover thread from the Piecework doily and size 0 needles. I made it to round 50 last night. About 20 rounds to go, give or take. This one has pattern on almost every round, making stitch markers and counting very important. It's been challenging so far, but it makes sense the way the pattern emerges. No chart errors so far!

For those of you who don't knit much lace, this is the "before" picture. It's lumpy and weird looking now, but when it's been cast off and blocked it'll be magically transformed. Just wait a few days and you'll see.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Finn's Birthday Boxers

Finn turned 10 last Thursday, so I made him some boxers, too. I used a plain old Simplicity pattern (9958) because I couldn't find a kids pattern without a seam up the back. He picked out this fabric last spring, but he doesn't remember that and was, frankly, underwhelmed. I like 'em, but they won't fit me. He did like the Crobots book, though, and has asked for a crochet lesson so he can crochet some robots.

This weekend we danced a lot! Friday night at Jane's, Tommy practice on Saturday morning, dancing out with Maroon Bells and Breathless at the Westminster Rec Center and Promenade all afternoon, medieval dance practice last night. Now it's Monday morning and I feel great! No more dancing until Thursday, though.