Sunday, November 18, 2007

Almost Caught Up

For my few ardent readers, remember the Wisp Shawl/capelet/cowl that I was knitting on the Great Wall of China? I'm done. It's really hard to photog yourself wearing a scarf. Really. Hard. Anyway, I haven't put on the shell buttons yet to make it truly finished. As it is now, there is no sexy caplet and no terminally cute hood. By the way, am I the only one who noticed the ridiculous High School Senior Photo quality of this scarf when worn as a capelet? Especially in that light blue on the Knitty model? I know my SIL will wear it as a cowl.

The pattern is easy and quick. It is easier if you knit it as written, but I had to cut out a row of garter stitch because I had just one ball of Kidsilk Haze. I also had to cut out one fishnet pattern. When she says 1-2 balls, she means 1 ball plus 3 feet of the second ball. I find that rather rude, but I think the size is just fine without the called for repeats.

Here is a shot of the whole scarf. I'll take more pics when I finally get the buttons on. I have 2 more of these to make. Thankfully, they go fast.

On the needles, besides another Wisp, is the U-Neck Back to School Vest from Fitted Knits. I must be getting better at ribbing, because this is flying off the needles. The yarn is Malabrigo and the color is Velvet Grape. I LOVE this color.

That's it for now. I think I'm all caught up with the knitting that happen while I was incognito.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Petals on the Earth

A while back I took a really neat yarn dying class (here's the post) and produced my very first skein of lace weight yarn. I called it Petals on the Earth and I was in love. How could I produce such a lovely on my very first try? (hint - it helps if you have an expert helping you. Thank you, Charles)

Ok, so lace weight yarn dictates that I knit, well, Ok, I admit I have been more adventurous than the average rookie, but c'mon! Those lace stoles and shawls look so delicate and complicated and HARD! But I have the Scarf Style book and I see the Ene's Scarf pattern and I think "what the heck! It's just knit and purl. How hard can it be?"

As it turns out, not hard at all. I present to you, Petals on the Earth.

Ene's Scarf, Spread Out

Ene's Scarf, Wrapped

Ene's Scarf on sofa

I used, and I'm only guessing, about 700 of the 880 yards on the skein. I wish I knew what to do with the left over yarn. What are other uses for lace weight yarn? A small hat, perhaps? Could I get fingerless mitts out of it?

I really enjoyed this process of lace knitting. I mean it was serious fun. This is a problem as I am about as lacy as a mack truck - but I might have to change my fashion sensibility to match my knitting. I can't be the first knitter to do this.

Next up are more Christmas gifts, wisp scarves for my amazing SILs, finally felt those house slippers from my MIL and a U-Neck vest for me. Yipee!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tangled Fields of Glory

I can't begin to tell you how Cheshire Cat satisfied I am. This is a helluva way to mark my one year knitting anniversary! Here are the details: Pattern, as if you didn't know - Tangled Yoke Cardigan from Interweave Knits Fall '07. Yarn - Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool color 44 from Webs, 6 balls and a smidgen of the 7th. Needle, #8 Addi Turbo. Size 38 and I am a 40 bust (no one ever tells you that. I sure wish people told you that so you could see if you like the fit compared to your own bod. I am "strong woman to pull plow". You can plainly see that. Why hide it?).

Here's me looking all satisfied. By the way, how'd you like the high art fashion shoot that I opened the post with? DH is getting more creative with the camera...

I love the way the yoke looks and how it goes all the way around. Some people have posted of problems in keeping track of their place in this loooooong cable. I did this by using stitch markers when possible (not always practical due to the K2togs) and really knowing my stitch structure one row down. Not a blip on this cable - but I didn't go fast, either.

Garter ribbing on the sleeves and the waist - looks really nice, but is almost the opposite of pulling in for shaping. It actually flares out at the ends, giving a bit of a bell shape to the sleeves and a flare at the waist. I think it looks nice, but was certainly unexpected.

Here's the folded over neckline and button band detail. I love the delicate way the neck presents and the folding over gives heft and structure. I almost wonder if you couldn't do the same thing for the button band. A little heft would help it from pooching out between the buttons...

The folded neckline was bound off using the 3 needle bind off method. I felt like a true professional with such an elegant finishing.

Cute buttons, eh? I only had 6 but figured I would never button the top anyway. I'm rather surprised the the control freaky type A monster in me is ok with this, but I ain't gonna question it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Now we're back. What should I knit?

I am finally getting back into the rhythm of my life. International travel is incredibly disruptive for anyone - doubly so for the uninitiated.

My rhythm includes writing - lots of writing. I wrote quite a lot while in China - lots of facts, figures, history, anecdotes about my travel mates and impressions of a strange land. Maybe I will share some of this as we go along.

Most of my stuff is done or near done. What shall I do next? How about the U-Neck School Vest from Stephanie Japel's Fitted Knits?

I have this wonderful birthday yarn from my assistant. Malabrigo, yum!
I've knit my swatch and hit gauge right away. Must be a sign!

Now, I have a new delima. I bought some lovely Cascade 220 Super wash in a taupe brown ages ago. It was meant for this:

The Pimlico Shawl. Remember that one? I obsessed over this sweater. I had to have it. I bought a bag of Noro from Little Knits and knit away - only to learn how yarn and projects need to match up! I even trekked over to Wild Fiber and tried on the sample. But, by the time I got the right yarn, other projects had jumped the queue and the yarn sat and sat. I actually had plans to cast on as soon as I got back from China and then THIS happened -

Oblique by Veronik Avery. Be still my heart! The perfect slouchy comfy sweater pattern. So classic! So gorgeous! I am in love! AND.... I have the yarn. Bye-Bye Pimlico. You were always a little too fashion forward for this Ann Taylor inspired heart. (But then... I still have the pattern. Who knows if the shawl will re enter the queue?)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

It's been so long...

I've been away. Far, far away. I've been to China and back and I mean that literally! Here's proof:

I'm knitting Wisp as a Christmas present for my sister-in-law. Won't it be cool to tell her this puppy was knitted on the Great Wall of China?!

I met 2 other knitters, Charlotte from Omaha and Linda from Maine. Linda thought it would be cool to knit something for myself, as a remembrance of China. Great idea, Linda! So, here I am, cruising down the Lessor Gorges of the Yangtze River, knitting my own hand dyed yarn into Ene's Scarf.

I saw many great things in China. I expected, frankly, that reality could never match up to the fantasy, but I was wrong. China is mind blowingly beautiful, dramatic, history infused and DENSE. There are so many people - can you wrap your head around 1.3 billion people in one country? A medium sized city has 7 million people in it. SEVEN million! That's outrageous, but reality. I spent many moments thanking my ancient ancestors for having the courage to leave China for the US back in the 1800's. Otherwise I would think squatty hole toilets were perfectly normal (eew).

Many of the very chic young women wear very cute knitted hats. these hats are brimmed but have no top - a perfect place for the ever present glossy black pony tail to poke through.

In Beijing, where it is colder, I saw several slouchy hats like this one:

Room for piling the glossy black hair in the hat or open it up and letting the pony tail poke through. I'll have to try my hand at designing something like these hats. Afterall, I have the glossy brownish, reddish blackish pony tail!

I have much knitting to blog about, but I don't want to overload. Here's a link to my Picasa Web Album, should you care to look. If you get the chance to go, do it. It was an amazing experience.

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