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September 29, 2005

Can't help myself...

I love you and nobody else.

When I said I was obsessed, I must have been understating it. I've never made so much progress so quickly before - I think it's a combination of it being really mindless knitting (stockinette in the round, anyone? Huzzah!) and my being completely, totally enamored of the dreaminess of the yarn and the beautiful resulting fabric. I hate putting it down, it's so pleasant to work on. I'm almost done with the back and should be reattaching yarn to the front in the next couple days.

I've been following a thread on Craftster about knitting a circular shrug - it has been really interesting to watch it go from a starting model, to technical discussions on construction and technique, to works in progress, to actual finished objects with documentation. The organic progression of the discussion is amazing...and has made me desperate to make a shrug. Using the basic method outlined in the thread, I'm going to do one with a cabled rib collar and Celtic knots in the body. It means I finally get to use the knot design I charted weeks ago - whee!

Picture a block of four of these, the two on the right half mirror-images of the swatch, and the four intertwined, as a panel on the back . I bought the Cascade 220 for another purpose, but this seems just about right at the moment.

And last, the ubiquitous "shawl in the window" shot to show off the stitch pattern:

September 27, 2005

Done: Kimono Shawl

Pattern: Kimono Shawl, Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberle
Yarn: Ornaghi Filati Merino Oro in color 011 (dusty pink)
Yardage: Approximately 1000 yards
Yarn Source: All About Yarn
Needles: 3.75mm (US5) Clover bamboo circulars
Gauge: ? blocked, ? unblocked
Modifications: Knit with cobweb weight yarn in place of laceweight

See all entries on this project

Stick a chopstick

in it; the Kimono Shawl (from Cheryl Oberle's book Folk Shawls) is done. I was absolutely terrified that this would spring a leak with aggressive blocking - the yarn is exceedingly fine merino, and it caught on rough edges of my fingernails once or twice. I settled for running cotton yarn around the perimeter, giving it a brief soak in wool wash, and easing the pattern into bloom rather than blocking very tautly.

The difference between the blocked and unblocked fabric is still pretty remarkable. I really think this is why I'm so fascinated by lace - that near-miraculous transformation. Same reason why I love butterflies, and babies, and, uh...Shrinky-Dinks.

I'll have some better images later, hopefully.

This was a very quick knit, taking about 10 days from caston to blocking, and not being an exclusive project during that time. I only did 20 repeats instead of the prescribed 25, but at about 62" finished length, I don't think anyone's going to be too upset. It was a cheap little project, too - it cost exactly $16.00 to make, with one 1600yd (100g) hank of Ornaghi Filati Merino Oro, a laceweight 100% wool. There's even enough left over (about a third of the hank) for me to try some fine-gauge felting experiments.

This one will be my mom's Christmas present; I'll probably make two more to gift to the other Ladies Of A Certain Age in my life. Hooray for preparedness!

And hooray for starting new projects -

I am OBSESSED. I've never actually worked with 100% alpaca before - I can't believe what a pleasure it is just to feel this stuff run through my fingers. DROPS alpaca. Sky blue and cream. Swoooon.

Behold!

the highly coveted and very popular Union Square Market Pullover from the current Interweave. I love everything about this - the way the severity of the lines are tempered by the softness of the yarn; the beautiful technical details like the buttons along the shoulder seam; the simplicity of the hem facings, the unusual sleeve and neck treatments...alas, I don't know if I could, given hours of reflection, come up with anything that could possibly be less flattering on me than the high neckline combined with the double-thickness detail. The last thing I need is anything that draws attention to my chest - and high necklines tend to make me look like I've got a second chin hovering around my armpits. I thought about altering the pattern in a number of ways...but I really like this sweater as designed, and do think that the flap goes a long way towards making the geometry of the thing work. I really wanted to knit it as written.

It's a good thing that it'll look great on my (similarly sized, but considerably less busty) sister.

A tip for invisible caston - instead of using waste yarn, use the cable of a smaller size circular as your foundation. It's stable enough to prevent your stitches from twisting - and when you get to where you need to knit the stitches, they're already on the needle. Totally sweet.

Zoom!

September 22, 2005

It's not the mountain we conquer

Yarn shops? Don't talk to me about yarn shops. You're looking at a girl who thinks of going to the yarn store like a kid dreams of going to the candy shop - with epicurean, voluptuous pleasure. Going to the yarn store with money to spend? Call Sir Edmund Hillary; it's an expedition fraught with dilemnas and obstacles (silk or wool? or wool-silk blend?), tempered by breathless discovery and revelation (my God...pink fingering angora! At $8.00 a 200m skein!).

Which is why it's such a pleasure to come across a new (to me) store. Will the staff be sweet? Will I want to go and chat with them? Will the walls be lined with merino and cashmere, or with yarn dripping with cheap spangles and "fun fur" (totally my new favorite euphemism for pubic hair)?

Babble aside, All About Yarn is a great store off 108 in Columbia - it's enormous, full of beautiful and hard-to-find things, including more hand-dyed silk than is good for me, and staffed with knowledgeable, personable people. It's a bit out of the way, so I thought I'd pass this tip along to anyone in the DC/Baltimore area.

Another day; another two repeats on the kimono shawl. It's getting loooong already...I think 20 repeats will be plenty. Which means I'm more than halfway done!

September 20, 2005

Odds and ends

That wasn't me, complaining a scant two weeks ago that I didn't have enough projects on the needles, oh nooo. I'd never have a problem like that, no siree...move along; there's nothing to see here.

The Kimono Shawl's eight repeats in. I'm not sure yet if I'll do the called-for 25 - this is going to grow a lot when blocked.

I like this lace pattern (and the speed with which it works up) very much; I think I might end up making three of these in different colors for gifts for my mom, grandmother and aunt. I might choose a slightly thicker yarn next time - maybe some more Zephyr - it seems to me like this shawl wants to be a solid fabric patterned with openwork more than it does some light and ethereal cobweb-type piece destined to be tugged through a wedding ring.

Dad's sweater is progressing, too. I'm finally out of the finger-numbing stockinette portion, and have split the front and back and am working on them seperately. I'm not following any particular gansey construction to a tee here, but am adjusting a vague plan I started with bit by bit as I go along. This approach usually works well for me - and then there are times, like tonight, when I'm merrily working away on something, and fail to realize until halfway through that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. Shawl collar? Sure, I've knitted dozens of shawl collars. Or a couple, at least. Well, yeah, that last one really was more of a turtleneck, now that you mention it. Have I ever knitted a shawl collar before?

Rip, rip rip.

Off to the library tomorrow, to peruse that Vogue knitting bible and that book about finishing techniques.

On a more cheerful note, I wish I could marry this ohso simple but ohso effective stitch pattern and have ten thousand of its babies.

And, not that I have (numerous and priority-taking) other projects on the needles or anything, but I'm starting to have the beginnings of an idea

for convertible mittens for Jeff, made in charcoal Dale Tiur (or maybe that Gore-Tex treated yarn they make), adorned with a single intricate cable panel on the back of the hand (subtle, see, because they'll be dark), and finished on the palms and finger pads with suede. I'm drooling a little just thinking about them.

Not knitting related (and you might want to skip this if you're a bit squeamish about bugs), but we've been working on the yard in anticipation of this pig roast we're planning to throw. Yes, the house sits on a bunch of wooded acres, but really, it lies within five miles of a Starbucks, movie theater, McDonalds, Chipotle...not exactly rustic.

September 16, 2005

You just keep me hanging on

I needed new TV knitting. My dad's sweater (the point I'm at, anyway), is so boring it's not any fun to knit.

Enter Merino Oro:

I wound most of this hank, by hand (!!!!!), and started on the Kimono Shawl from Cheryl Oberle's book Folk Shawls. I got through three repeats while finally watching Crash. The movie was overrated, and more than a little ham-fisted...but it's okay, because the lace pattern is lovely and fast-growing, and is easily memorized, and is going to block out like a champ.

My mom is going to love this.

Eunny - 1; Christmas Eve panic - 0.

Grievance Of The Day - The Korean term for wisdom teeth is "salang-ee", or "love-teeth", the implication being, I guess, that they emerge when one is ready for love. I believe this is only because it's too unwieldly to say "Tenth-Circle-Of-Hell-Teeth", or "Pass-the-effing-bourbon-NOW-teeth."

September 15, 2005

Dear Ornaghi Filati

Dear Ornaghi Filati (and other makers of laceweight yarn):

I love my Merino Oro. Your color line is spectacular - I've never seen quite as pretty a shade of dusty pink. The yarn is airy and beautiful and delicious beyond words.

But please, please please sell it in balls. 1360 yard hanks of laceweight make the Baby Jesus (and those of us without swifts) cry.



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