Knitting Like A Sailor

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Getting to know you...

As I mentioned prevously, I'm participating in The Amazing Lace. I'm surprised at myself, never having been a joiner before, this is my fourth sign up for the year, the others being Secret Pal 7, 200Sox, and Dye-O-Rama. I know why I chose this one though. I have some lace projects marinating that I'd relaly like to see completed. Please allow me to introduce them.

Rosy-Fingered Dawn.
RFD has been mentioned fairly recently. Still not liking the chart design, although I've moved on to a different charted motif that's more intuitive. Within the first row of the new chart I figured out the problems and have been able to compensate. This charts' particular issue is that the designer has long stretches of plain knitting, so she provides the stitch count for each stretch in the chart. She also only charted half the pattern, with a pivot stitch that is only counted once. I can do that, no problem. However, when the stretches of plain knitting encorporate the pivot (which happens every other row) she lists the total stitch count for the entire run. This isn't a problem, but she doesn't make it clear that the stitch count includes the pivot and all the return stitches, so rather than knit 14 total stitches, I knit 14, then pivoted the chart (in my mind) around this stitch, and knit 14 back for a total run of 29 knit stitches. I caught it right away, and it made sense once I knew what was going on, but no where in the pattern does she explain it.

I know many people had issues with mistakes in the charts, understanding the charts, running out of yarn, and the size of the finished shawl. I know a lot of people gave up in disgust, but I look at it as a challenge. Figuring out what is going on is a pain, but it's helping me understand what I'm doing a little better. Emphasize little. And, once I do figure out what is going on, the knitting is fun. I'm not too worried about the size, the unblocked finished shawls that I saw were around 35 inches across or so, and blocked out to the 50 ish inch region, mine is on chart 4 of a total of six body charts, and it's already at 36 inches. I would be worried about running out of yarn, but I bought my kit after the KAL had already contacted the company with yarn shortages, and so far I've had mucho excess for every chart, plus they sent two balls for the edging. If I run out, I run out, and I'll have to substitute something else. Irritating, but no big deal eh? Anyway, here she is in all her wadded up glory.

Two charts worth of knitting is folded under because the circular isn't large enough to stretch it out decently, and I wanted to show off the pretty star motif. If you look closely, you can see where the purplish tint in the yarn overs (that would be the holes, Rob) stops and you can see the gold of the sheet coming through, mostly in the lines of yarn overs (again, that means holes, Rob) that look like spokes in the arms of the star. That's how much of the shawl is folded over, about 7-8 inches all the way around. Posed like this, it reminds me of a giant pink lace beret :) (no links included to any place where you can get the kit or the pattern, I'm not encouraging people to buy something so poorly done, but if you really and truly want the aggrivation this shawl is, Google it.)

Next on my plate, we have Kiri from Polly over at All Tangled Up. It's a lovely shawl, knit with a yarn that is appealing both visually and sensually. Here's the color I'm using, and it's accurate on my monitor. I linked it so you can see how poorly my camera captured the rich magenta. I tried toning the screaming fuschia down, but it just developed pixellated purple spots. Kind of interesting, kind of diseased looking. Also, the picture is in focus, the Kid Silk Haze is just that fluffy. I thought long and hard about making this shawl in the required yarn. It's far and away the most expensive and decadent yarn I've ever used. Yes, I've bought skeins that cost more, but the price per yard is what I'm looking at. Ouch. I ordered the yarn, and let it sit on the shelf, intimidated. Finally, in a fit of I bought the damn stuff, It's going to waste sitting there pique, I started the shawl. I'm glad that I did finally start it, it's light, shiny, fluffy, and so deliciously girly that I'm surprised I like it. However, it's a fairly simple, repetative knit that requires attention be paid to avoid missing a stitch in the mohairy goodness. It's not too bad to knit while watching tv or listening to audiobooks, but tv time has been relegated to sock knitting and audiobook time has been devoted to RFD because I want to get that sucker DONE. You're next, Kiri, m'dear, I promise.

Last, but most intimidating, is the Spring Shawl, designed by Sharon Miller. So far, it's been pretty straight forward. Unlike RFD, the charts are bang on, everything is Clearly Explained, and the designer is readily available and appreciates questions. Really, she does, she's such a sweet person.
I'm knitting it in Silk Organzine from Habu Textiles with a Crystal Palace Bamboo circular, size 0. Silk Organzine is made from reeled, twisted raw silk fibers that are then plied together. My yarn underwent the additional step of boiling to rid it of the seracin, which was well worth the price difference for me. I've smelled wet silk, and it's not the scent of choice.
For an awesome site about silk (even non-fiber people will probably enjoy this site <* looking at Rob*>) go to WormSpit.
The Spring Shawl starts at the point of the border for the center triangle, then you pick up for the real borders and knit those down, then knit on the edging. Obviously I'm not very far, but that's okay. I anticipate this taking a long time, especially since I prefer not to knit on it continuously. I'm considering it practise for Unst, which will be practise for the Ring Shawl, which is practise for my own handspun, self designed ring shawl. We're talking years down the line, but that's one of my goals.

Well, those are the introductions. Have a good week and Lace On!

Monday, May 15, 2006

A post in which I blatently steal someone elses' format.

I haven't been blogging lately. What have I been doing? A whole lot of nothing, and I've been busy as a one legged person in an ass-kicking contest doing it.

The good:
I'm finally getting around to posting the Dye-O-Meme-O-Rama for my dyeing partner.

Your favorite colors? Jewel tones, muted colors, bright is good, screaming is not.

Preferred yarn weight (Fingering, Sport, DK, maybe even Worsted)? I'm open to any and all :)

Do you prefer solid, variegated, self-striping, self-patterning yarn or multicolored yarn? Yes. Seriously, whatever you want to make, or, conversely, whatever you wind up with regardless of your intentions at the start, is great.

Would you be interested in a wool blend sock yarn (nylon, tencel, silk, acrylic, alpaca, etc.)? Yes, I do have to ask for a yarn with mostly natural content. I live in the hot, humid south, for most of the year 100% man-made fibers are smothering in a garment more solid than a lace shawl.

Imagine the perfect colorway. What would you name it? Dark Jewels, dried flowers, tie dye, something like that.

What was the biggest appeal to you for joining this dye-along? Making something for someone else (I love giving gifts) and, I have to admit, receiving something made just for me.

Have you dyed yarn/fiber before? Yup.

If so, what’s your favorite dye and method? I like the washfast and lanaset/sabracet dyes from ProChem.

Do you spin? Yup.

Have you knit socks before? Yup.

Do you use sock yarn for just socks or in other patterns too? I make shawls from it, and I plan a stranded colorwork sweater from my own dyed fingering weight yarns, eventually.

What are some of your favorite yarns? I like Gems Merino, Knitpicks, The Elann shop brand, and I really like the STR yarn, if I can find the source that's what I'd like to dye for my sweater (see above)

What yarn do you totally covet? Gems Merino and the STR yarn. (it will be mine if I have to resort to buying cones from Blue Moon lol)

Favorite patterns? I'm easy. Sometimes I like plain old vanilla, sometimes I like complex. I'm working one of my own right now that involves a provisional cast on at the ankle, knit the heel foot and toe, then go back and pick up the provisional cast on and knit up the leg. I have some of the older STR skeins and I don't want to run out or have excessive leftovers. I am enjoying it, because it allows me to use aspects of both top down and toe up patterns without having to rework them.

Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object? A shetland ring shawl. I have the pattern, I'm saving up for the yarn at Heirloom-Knitting.

Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)? I knit socks on dpn's, I like susannes ebony, crystal palace, and susan bates quicksilver (they're the grey coated ones, not the colored ones) I have an ebony pair, and I have crystal palace dpns, but I cannot find the quicksilvers anywhere locally. They are perfect for yarns that are too grabby for the bamboo needles, yet not so slick that I hurt my hands trying to prevent them from slipping out of the knitting, like I do with most metal needles. For other knitting, I use circulars usually, bamboo, inox and bryspun. Love me some bryspun circulars.

If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be? Opal Petticoat in their silk yarn (they don't make it in silk but I want them to)

Nothing to do with knitting/yarn/fiber in any way but seemed kinda fun:

Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack? I like chocolate, I love samplers (tea, coffee, chai) I covet stuff like that but never buy it for myself.

What’s your favorite animal? Generally, dogs, specifically, my dog, Shaela.

Do you have pets? What are their species/names/ages? We have my cat Bielset (grey domestic long hair, male, 3, pronounced bee-ull-set, it's gaelic for a marking pattern in shetland sheep, a light band around the neck) my son's cat Geal (black DSH, male, 1, gee-y'all, prounounced with a soft g as in guppy, it's gaelic for cherished) and Shaela (giant yellow lab/hound/mastiff? mix, 4 years old, her name is gaelic for a color of shetland sheep, it's a frosted black) Yeah, um, have I mentioned that I spin? And that I admire greatly the shetland shawl knitters, who spun fine ring shawls from locks of shetland sheep neck wool?

If you were a color what color would you be? Teal, aquamarine, blue green, green blue, anything in that range.

Describe your favorite shirt (yours or someone else’s).. My rainbow colored tie dye t-shirt that was tied and folded and dipped so that a black spider covers the front (and back) of the shirt. I haven't been able to figure out how they did it, but I love it and will wear it until it's tattered beyond recognition.

What is your most inspiring image, flower, or object in nature? Cara's blog header. When you refresh it a different picture comes up. I find them all lovely and my children enjoy guessing which picture will be up next. Buying a few of her prints are on my someday list.

Tell me the best quote you’ve ever heard or read.
"Oh, my friend, it's not what they take away from you that counts. It's what you do with what you have left." ~Hubert Humphrey

Do you have a wishlist? Yes, I do. If you'd like it, let me know and I'll send it along.

Now on to the Bad:
I sprung my knee. I injured it many years ago, and hadn't had any problems with it until last week when the youngest ran full tilt across the living room to give me a full body leg hug, at which point I felt the muscles, ligaments and tendons above my knee go poing! Stairs, stick shifts, standing, and moving it at all are not good right now. Analgesics and icy-hot are keeping the worst of it at bay.

More bad (and quite a bit of poor me whining too):
for mothers day I was given a poster with a somewhat snotty-humored poem on it, an unsigned card, and a "huh, they said your gift would be delivered by Saturday. I'm not worried though, it'll show up", the last added when I started to suggest tracking it at the UPS website. I went out for a couple of hours Saturday, then came home, put the young children to bed, and spent two hours cooking a special mothers day dinner while the eldest and the man who lives here played video games. At least no one objected when I suggested that someone other than I clear the table and put things away. Not the most stellar of mothers day here, but it could have been worse.

The Ugly:
my laptop has a design flaw. The ac port is smack next to the vent for the heat sink. A years worth of hot air flowing over it has deformed the plug housing on the ac converter, which I noticed, and caused the insulation inside the plug to deteriorate, which I had not noticed until half of it fell out. The left half, or the right half, depending on how you look at it. Charging the laptop now involves manipulations akin to performing contortions while holding the rabbit ears on the tv set. The only reliable way is to twist, fiddle and maneuver the plug until the charging icon comes on, and then hold it in place. Yeah, I'm so into doing that. I've ordered a replacement, they quoted me a delivery date of May 17th. I ordered it on May 6th, and didn't expect it to actually take that long.

The ugliest? FedEx has had my ac converter since May 7th, in their Portland, OR facility, and has not yet done anything with it at all. Unless they plan on flying it across the country tomorrow, I don't think it's going to get here by the 17th. Bastards. It's seriously irritating me, because there are certain things I need on a daily basis that I cannot access without the internet, and right now I can't get down the stairs to the desk top. I lucked out earlier and actually got a full charge on the laptop so I'm able to blog with both hands. Yay!

The Better:
I dyed some yarns, and they are pretty. I'd show them here but one of them is going to my Dye-O-Rama partner.

The Best:
I've joined the Amazing Lace and it's prompted me to get going on the Rosey-Fingered Dawn Shawl kit I started months ago. (no comments or speculation on the name, I wouldn't have chosen it personally and find it rather funny but I try to keep the blog PG-13) I've doubled what I had finished on it in the last couple of days, and it's a highly irritating knit. The charts are off in stupid ways, mostly effecting symmetry. For example, on one side of the row she has you do o/o/o/o/ which needs to be \o\o\o\o on the other end of the row, but she doesn't chart that part, she just makes a notation that 4X means repeat o/ four times, so I have to remember to change it at the end of every row and I don't always remember. Most of the time I catch it and can tink back, but when I don't notice it for a couple of rows, I leave it. It's faggoted mesh so I can probably block it straight. Still, HIGHLY irritating, even though the shawl is beautiful and the patterns really are simple to do. Her charting method is one of the most confusing I've run across. I'm keeping notes and I intend to knit it again at some point, probably with alpaca laceweight, but I'll want to rechart it into a way that both makes sense, and is correct.

Other than that, nothing much has been happening around here. Kae, I found the addi, but I need your address, which is on the laptop. Email me and I'll put it in the mail for you.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I'm going to go knit now.