Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Sometimes life gets in the way of knitting, or knitting gets in the way of life. We had three house guests last week. Together with packing and with a first week of teaching an intensive course, this meant that precious little got done.

I am still working on the spider web shawl; the tencel is still pretty, and the shawl won't be as small as I feared it would be (my needles are 3 sizes smaller than the recommended sizes, and my yarn is finer). Very slowly I am also working on the Arctic Diamonds stole. I've found however that it is very difficult to work with yarn in the heat; it sticks to my hands, and feels unpleasantly warm (duh!).

And since one red lacy project and one reddish-pink lacy project are not enough, I've cast on for a pink lacy project! I woke up on Sunday morning with a vision for the hand-dyed hemp yarn I bought at MD Sheep and Wool. It will be a lacy and racy camisole, with empire waist. Stockinette above the waist, lace under the waist. I am using the Oriel lace pattern from IK Spring '07, and I think it will look good in the crunchy hemp yarn. Other than the lace chart, everything else is of my own design. I hope it turns out allright, or at least sexy...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Life is short

Too short for silly memes or knitting with ugly yarn. If you read my previous now deleted post, you will understand about the meme.

As for the yarn, I will spare you the pictures of the ugly, sort-of-spun silk I was trying to coerce into a scarf. I can make the scarf, but do I really want to, with all the beautiful things I still have around? For example, how about a spider-web shawl from Victorian Lace Today:

The yarn is Just our Yarn Almaza, a pure Tencel lace-weight yarn dyed in reds and pinks. I found it at MD Sheep & Wool and I am madly in love with it. It simply glows in my hands, and feels like heaven. The pictures don't do justice to the colors or the drape.

Monday, May 14, 2007

IK Summer 07 review

The Summer issue of Interweave Knits hits the newsstands soon. As a subscriber, I've had my copy for almost two weeks now, and here's what I think:

- the cover is nice. It's refreshing to see that IK is not doing knitted bikinis or totally impractical items like shirts full of holes.

1824 blouson - kind of cute.

sleeveless tuxedo shirt - nice idea, but who wants their bra / cami showing like that?

notre dame de grace pullover - I've already started this one. Perhaps the best design in this issue.

josephine top - the cap sleeves are a nice touch, but I don't think this would look good on anyone curvier.

little smocked cardigan - I'd make this longer, but otherwise it's a very pretty design. It would have been nice to get a picture of the dress that inspired this!

wing top - um, right. I'm dying to make a transparent top with no straps so my boobs can hang in plain sight. And what's up with the flappy piece?

lutea lace-shoulder shell - very clever design, and quite wearable. But couldn't the model have found a bra that wasn't red?

wheat-ear cable yoke - pretty, but not very practical. When will knitting designers understand that some of us need / want / like to wear bras, and we don't want all the bra straps showing?

lacy yoga bags - cute, and more practical than most designs here.

origami cardi - interesting idea, but I don't think it looks particularly flattering. And it leaves uncovered exactly the part of the back that needs to be kept warm. Let's categorize this one as art.

summertime tunic - looks like a nice project for beginners.

motorcycle chica gloves - art again; fresh idea, but not too practical.

garter stitch pup - I was so disappointed to see the size doesn't go up to "65 pound huge Standard Poodle". Why should only small yappy dogs get to wear this? Seriously, this is ridiculous.

luvtroja mans - art. You must really love someone (or really love yourself) to make a big sweater on size 2 and 1 1/2 needles. I'm sure it can be adapted to bigger needles.

hand-in-hand cable sweaters - pretty and classic.

syncopated caps - looks like a great way to use up left-over yarn from socks!

oriel lace blouse - please excuse me while I go out to buy 6 skeins of Alchemy Silken Straw at $26 each (you don't need my amazing math skills to know that this makes $156) to make a transparent lace blouse. What the hell. The most annoying part is that I actually like this blouse, but I can't figure out how much of its charm is due to the pattern and how much it's due to the yarn. Should I bother to substitute?

montego bay scarf - A stretched picture would have been nice. I can't tell what this scarf looks like!

ogee lace skirt - totally impractical, but looks like fun.

spiral boot socks - nice, nice...

lace chuppah - that's one big piece of knitting... this falls into the heirloom and art categories.

So that's it. I don't think I'll be making anything from this issue (notre dame de grace doesn't count, as it's on hold now). Maybe the spiral socks? But I don't need socks right now, and I have about a billion sock patterns already in the queue.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Sounds bad, doesn't it? But I cannot think of a better name for the unstoppable desire to finish things. I seem to suffer from it lately. Evidence #1:

Pattern: Audrey by E. Lavold
Yarn: E. Lavold's Silky Wool in green, just under 3 skeins
Needles: size 6 circulars and dpns
Comments: 1. Despite all my measuring and trying-on, the straps still came out too long and I had to frog a pattern repeat. Words of wisdom: do not weave in the ends until you are completely happy with the result. Weaving in ends might be unpleasant, but it's nothing compared to the un-weaving of the ends. 2. There is a mistake in the lace chart; see Lavold's page for an errata. 3. Silky Wool is always interesting to work with, and the stitches turn out, shall I say, perfect!

Evidence #2:

Pattern: Embossed Leaves Socks by Mona Schmidt, in Favorite Socks
Yarn: Koigu KPPM in raspberry almost solid
Needles: Crystal Palace bamboo #2s
Comments: wonderful pattern, and the yarn isn't too bad, either. I can see why this is one of the most popular patterns in the favorite socks knitalong

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

When in doubt...

Audrey is finished and blocking; expect photos of breathtaking beauty some time soon. I think she turned out allright, but it's hard to say before blocking, with those lacy straps.

Don't knit under the influence! I did, and the result is 3/4 of a sleeve for Notre Dame de Grace from the latest IK:

The texture is great, and this could be an awesome pullover with that intricate collar. But.. do I have enough yarn? I doubt it. I bought 4 skeins of merino, total yardage about 840. The pullover requires 880, so theoretically one could pull this off (since patterns don't always use every scrap of yarn). However, Notre Dame is eating yarn at an alarming rate: it looks like one sleeve will take 1 skein of yarn! You don't need amazing math skills to tell that since the front and back have a larger surface area than the sleeves, there is no way this sweater can be made from 4 skeins of yarn!

I'll need to think about what to do. One idea was to make the collar and the shoulder plackets from Peace Fleece Georgia, which knits to roughly the same gauge. But do I want a collar made out of Peace Fleece? Until a decision is reached, Notre Dame de Grace will be on hold...

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Maryland Sheep and Wool

So much to see, and so much fun. I bought little odds and ends: a small skein of cashmere, a merino and camel sock yarn, little silk skeins, little hemp skeins, and three skeins of lace-weight pure wool from a Welsh lady.

I've always wondered HOW exactly silk cocoons are unraveled. Now I know:

I will spare you the photos of the worms inside those cocoons, they are quite yucky.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Red meditation?

Before staring "Arctic Diamonds" I hadn't imagined that a slow project can be so satisfying.

(picture will be here)

Here are two repeats out of the planned six, and I will try to do seven if I have enough yarn. It is slow but not terribly complicated, and just interesting enough to keep me awake. Plus I love the feeling of this yarn against the shiny thin needles...