Monday, July 30

Cascading Leaves Shawl

I'm pleased to announce that the Cascading Leaves shawl pattern is ready to go. Here are two pictures of the pattern--one a closeup so you can see the details of the design.

This pattern is knit from the top down with 500-600 yards of fingering weight yarn on size 6 (4 mm) needles. The lace pattern forms a beautiful scalloped border when bound off and blocked. It can be easily upsized by using more yarn and knitting more pattern repeats. Knit it with any weight yarn you like and needles to suit the yarn. Lighter weight yarn takes more yardage to knit the same size shawl and thicker yarn will take less. It would look beautiful knit in a lightweight mohair yarn.

The pattern is 3 pages long with both charted and written instructions for only $5.00. It is available through my Ravelry pattern store.

Pattern prices subject to change without notice. Check my Ravelry Store for current pattern prices.




Saturday, July 28

Shawl pattern closer to being done

In case you thought I was kidding about designing a shawl, here's proof that I am. I'm calling the design Cascading Leaves. For some time, I've been looking for a lacier leaf motif. I've prowled through all my lace books and finally found something I liked. This is the result. Hope you like it as much as I do.

I'm working on edging options for the shawl. Haven't decided which of several way to go or whether to offer more than one choice and let you choose. When I decide, I'll chart the edging and do the written out instructions for the pattern. I like knitting from charts but I know that not every does.

When the shawl is finished and blocked, I'll take pictures of it for the pattern. Once everything's done, I'll post it for sale here. Sorry, this one won't be a freebie!

I'd hoped to have the shawl finished by now. I had some unexpected work come in that has eaten up some of my free time. I can't complain. It will be extra money to spend at the Michigan Fiber Fest in a couple of weeks.

Friday, July 27

Knitting Lace -- Update

Emily left me a comment. (Thanks, Emily!) She got a reply from the Brooklyn Museum of Art about the Knitting Lace book. Here's what it says:

Fans of Knitting Lace Publication:

We appreciate your interest in the future republication of our catalog Knitting Lace. We are now working on the necessary steps to be taken to grant permission for a reprint of the catalog.

We will keep you informed as we move forward.

Thank you for expressing your interest.

Sallie Stutz
Vice Director for Merchandising

Woo-hoo! Looks like we made them wake up and pay attention. Thanks to everyone for contacting the museum to help make this happen. I'll post when I hear who is the lucky publisher who will be reprinting the book.

Thursday, July 26

My wish list

Here's what's on my current wish list. I'm sure I could think of more if I tried. LOL!

They're not ranked in any particular order. Most are things I haven't been able to find or can't afford.

1. Heirloom Knitting by Sharon Miller (Purchased 11/07)
2. Knitting Lace by Susannah Lewis
3. Wrapped in Comfort by Alison Hyde (Purchased 9/07 - it's great!)
4. No Pattern Knits by Pat Ashforth (Finally found it. It's not my cup of tea.)
5. The Art of Shetland Lace by Sarah Don
6. The Opinionated Knitter by Elizabeth Zimmermann
7. Three-Cornered & Long Shawls by Sigridur Halldórsdóttir
8. Golding drop spindle - 1 ounce or less (received one as a gift from my SIL!)
9. Portable chair for spinning (light weight, folds-up, and has back support)
10. Creating Original Hand-Knitted Lace by Margaret Stove (Purchased 6/08)
11. Japanese knitting stitch books

I don't ask for much, do I. :-)

Monday, July 23

Lace Knitting and notes of interest

I was amazed recently to discover that the Yarn Harlot has linked to my blog. Stephanie doesn't mention my blog by name but does link to it in a recent post about the MS3 stole on July 5th. Woo-hoo!

It's fun to browse Sitemeter to find out the location of people who read my blog, what pages they're reading on my site (the triangle shawl list is by far the most popular page), and what links they use to get to my blog. Checking this information out is how I found out about the Yarn Harlot's post. Last Thursday, I had readers from 13 countries outside the U.S.---the Netherlands, Croatia, Estonia, Norway, Australia, Argentina, Malayasia, Denmark, Germany, Canada, France, Switzerland, and the UK.!!!

I'm making progress on the shawl I'm designing. I showed it to my friends on Saturday. They love it! I don't think I'll have to twist many arms to get one or more of them to test knit it for me. I have to finish the prototype first and decide what to do for the edging. I've had several thoughts about that. We'll see which works best or if I may offer a choice.

I've updated the link for the Icelandic Lace Shawl on the triangle shawl list. The new link will take you to the free pattern at the Knitting Daily site. The original pattern in Piecework magazine calls for 900 yards of yarn. The revised pattern calls for 1,260 yards of yarn. Be careful, they've already discovered an error in the key to the new chart.

Have you heard of Knitting Lace by Susanna Lewis? It's an incredible book, but sadly, is out-of-print. Two publishers have been trying to get the right to reprint it from the Brooklyn Museum of Art. One of the publishers who's been trying to get reprint permission is Meg Swansen at Schoolhouse Press. Sadly, after two years of trying, they're getting nowhere. The author, Susanna Lewis, has even asked the museum to allow the reprint without any luck. This makes no sense to me. It's a win, win situation for everyone. If they grant a reprint, it will put some much needed money into the museum's bank account, sell a lot of books for the lucky publisher, and get the book into lace knitters waiting hands. They must not have a clue that copies of this book are selling for over $100 on Ebay.

Here's what I suggest. Send an email (or write or call) the museum asking them to grant permission to reprint this book to one of the publishers. If enough of us do this, it might break the log jam and get things moving.

http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/about/contact.php

For general comments, or to contact us regarding an exhibition, please send an e-mail to information@...

To phone the Brooklyn Museum: (718) 638-5000 or Fax: (718) 501-6136

Saturday, July 21

Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair

Yesterday was a long day. Three friends of mine and I hit the road early for a trip to the new Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair in Crystal Lake, Illinois. It was a beautiful day with temps in the low 70's instead of the blazing 90's we were expecting earlier in the week. The drive from northern Indiana to the northwest side of Chicago took us about 3 hours. That said, it was well worth the drive.

Parking was free and near by. We had preordered our admission tickets. All we had to do was pick up our armbands. A lot of thought was put into setting up this event. Kudos to everyone involved with putting it on!

There is live music all day, an art exhibit, lots of really great food, and tons of shopping for knitters, spinners, felters, etc. Only one of us remembered to bring a camera and even she forgot to take any pics. I'm afraid we're all more do-ers than picture takers! LOL!

Here's a pix of what I brought home with me.
  • 8 ounces of 80% merino/20% silk hand dyed rovings in Monet Mix colorway from Jenny Setser at Winterhaven Fiber Farm.
  • A 3 ounce braid of pinks/peach in merino/bamboo top to spin from Carolina Homespun
  • Three packages of dyed silk hankies and some dyed Bombyx silk top from Lone Tree Wools (Elizabeth Shreeves is an inspired dyer! She'll be at Michigan Fiber Fest.)
  • Three skeins of Jojoland Harmony laceweight yarn (880 yards) for just $6 a ball at the Knitting Software booth.
  • Two skeins of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn for less than half price (It was stash clearance from a lady running a booth selling hand knit dogs sweater. Sorry, didn't get her name. She says she has a book of patterns coming out soon.)
  • A bottle of Schacht spinning oil for my Tina wheel
Little Barn had some fabulous deals on yarn and spinning fiber. I drooled over yarn at the Interlacements, Brooks Farm Yarn, and other booths. I showed the ladies at Brooks Farm my water bottle carrier made from their Four Play yarn. They loved it! I gave them my card so they could look up the pattern on my blog.

Tired and foot sore, we reluctantly started home about 3:30 pm EDT. I pulled into my driveway 4 hours later!

If you live anywhere near this festival, it is open today and Sunday.

Go!

Stop reading this and go!

Thursday, July 19

What does this look like?

I met up with some of my knitting friends last night at a local coffee shop. I took along the samples of my tessellating hexagon pattern. Anita took one look at it and said, "That's a fish!"

She's right. Take a look at this picture. That's 1-1/2 hexagons. If you knit them both the same color it would be a fish.

So here's another option for knitting the tessellating hexagons. Knit some or all of them as fish. This pattern has several advantages over the other tessellating fish patterns on the web.

1) They lay flat and won't puff up,
2) You can knit them in continuous strips (nose to nose and tail to tail), and
3) If you join the rows together as you go, you'll have no finishing to do at the end.

Sounds like a winner to me!

Monday, July 16

Knitted Hexagons Blankie

This is a perfect project for scrap yarn. Knit individual hexagons or knit strips. Change colors after each one, knit them all the same, or do a planned layout like a Grandmothers Flower Garden quilt. Have fun with it! (I’ve include a blank grid you can print out if you’d like to plan and color your chart to use as a guide.)

Worsted weight yarn
(full hexagon - 17 yards; half hexagon - 9 yards; fish - 19 yards
Size 7-10 needles (I used a U.S. 10.)


Pattern is now available through Ravelry.

Sunday, July 15

Designing behind the scenes

Not much knitting or spinning going on at the moment. I've been distracted by a couple of knitting ideas that won't let go. They've been percolating in my head and the results are crystallizing. The new designs are for a:

1) modular afghan worked as individual motifs or in strips
2) triangular top-down lace shawl

I'm in the midst of test knitting both projects. The afghan project is just about ready to turn loose. Just a few more details to check out. I think you'll like it. It's a scrap yarn project. I should get it posted on my blog this week as a freebie.

The lace shawl pattern won't be ready for awhile. I've knit enough of a sample to know the design works well and should be a fairly easy knit. The yarn I'm using is a discontinued one from Knit One Crochet Two called Madelaine. It's a fingering weight superfine merino wool in willow green. I'm crossing my fingers I have enough yarn.

The shawl edging is still a big question mark. I'll continue to think about it while I knit the body of the shawl. The prototype chart and pattern (minus edging) have been typed up. I'm debating whether to offer line by line instructions or not. It will take me longer to complete the pattern if I do.

I may ask someone to test knit it. I'd like to catch any errors before I release it to the public.

Pictures to come. The completed pattern will be posted for sale on my blog.

Sunday, July 8

First harvest from garden

For the first time in a couple of years, we planted an organic vegetable garden this summer. We harvested the first summer squash today. I planted about six hills of various yellow summer squash and zucchini. I'm hoping to have enough squash to freeze for winter use. Contrary to what most people believe, it is possible to freeze zucchini. I cube mine, freeze it on cookie sheets until frozen, and then bag it. It's great for stir fries, soups, and pasta. For quick breads, I usually shred it and freeze it in 1/2 c portions. Don't peel it! From past squash gluts, I have a lot of different ways to prepare summer squash and zucchini. Here's a new recipe I tried out today. It's a keeper!

SUMMER SQUASH & RICE SALAD

1-2 tb olive oil
1/8-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
5 c assorted diced summer squash
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp cumin
1 tb olive oil
2 tb white or cider vinegar
2 c cooked rice, warm or cold
salt to taste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add squash and onion; sprinkle in pepper flakes. Cook and stir for several minutes. Add garlic and cumin. Cook until squash is tender. Put rice in a large bowl. Pour in squash mixture; toss to mix. Mix olive oil and vinegar together. Pour over rice and vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with salt; mix well. Serve warm or chilled on lettuce leaves or plain. It's good warm, but will have even more flavor when chilled for several hours. Can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

VARIATIONS: Add 1 can of drained and rinsed black or other beans. Crumble some feta or Mexican queso fresco cheese into salad. Use white or brown rice or substitute small pasta, couscous or other cooked grains. Substitute red wine or other vinegar.

Thursday, July 5

Kitten Bag & Project Updates

Thought I'd post a picture of the bag my SIL gave me for my birthday. It's a Giordano kittens bag. Isn't it cute? It should make a perfect knitting bag.

The Shetland scarf I started in February is history. I finally admitted to myself that I wasn't going to finish it. I frogged it on Monday. It's a relief to finally have it off the needles. Some projects never quite "jell". You just need to admit it and move on.

I finished spinning the turquoise and blue merino/silk on my Little Gem. Double click on the picture for a closer look. It's laceweight. Finished skein: 3.9 oz/720 yards. Wow! That's enough for a nice sized shawl. No plans for it so off to the stash it goes.

My friend, Liz, is encouraging me to sell some of my handspun. I have sold some of it in the past on Ebay but not lately. But . . . I could use some extra cash to buy more spinning fiber at Michigan Fiber Fest in August. LOL!

Tuesday, July 3

Fish Baby Blanket

A year or so ago, some friends and I made the infamous Fish Blanket as a group baby gift for another friend. (There's another version of the pattern available here.) It was fun to knit. It doesn't take much yarn to knit a fish, making it a good project for using up all those balls of scrap yarn.

I ended up being the person who had to join all those fishies together. It was quite a job since the fish were not uniform in size. My friend, Nancy, came over one day and helped me put it together. We laid all the fishes out on my kitchen counter and moved them around to get the best color distribution. Once that was done, we began sewing the fish together that were nose-to-nose. Then we unraveled the bindoffs on the tails and, using double points, did a 3-needle bindoff from the wrong side to join them tail-to-tail. Joining them into rows this way was as far as we got that day. I played with a number of different ways of joining the rows before I found one I liked. Below is what I came up with. I used a lighter weight yarn in blue to do the joins. It came out looking like waves which I thought was appropriate.

You’ll need a crochet hook and the yarn you want to use for joining. I used a sport weight yarn. Hold two rows rows of fish side-by-side and right side up. Hold the yarn behind the rows. Insert your crochet hook from the front through both chain stitch loops on the right side of a fish. Catch your joining yarn with your hook and pull a loop through to the front. You now have 1 loop on your hook.

Then go to the left side fish, insert your crochet hook through the loops on the side of the fish and pull up another loop. You now have 2 loops on your hook.

Pull up another loop from the fish on the right and then another loop from the fish on the left. Pull these two loops you just made through the two already on your hook.

Continue picking up one loop from each side and pulling them through the two on your hook. Don't pull it too tight! This can be a little tricky because of all the loops you’re working with. It does make a nice chain stitch over the seam and has the advantage of being a stronger and stretchier join than traditional seaming.

Once I had all the fish joined, I crocheted a single crochet edge around the entire blanket.

I got to deliver the blanket to the new mother and her baby girl. They both loved it!

Sunday, July 1

The Butterfly Shawl is actually...

If you'd like a copy of the Butterfly Shawl pattern, go to the Lion Brand website. The Butterfly Shawl is a word-for-word copy of their Easy Triangle Shawl #2. The picture on the Lion Brand page shows a not very clear picture of a gray shawl knit in their Homespun yarn. (IMO, it's too textured of a yarn for this pattern.) The shop who posted a copy of this pattern on the web may well have violated Lion Brand's copyright. I suspect it's a good thing that this shop is no longer in business.

I've deleted the Butterfly Shawl entry from my triangle shawl list. That takes the list down to 229 patterns. I've got some more pattern links to post when I get the time.

Here are directions on how to finish the shawl and work the Crocheted Shell Edging I used on mine.

Knit one more row so you are on the wrong side of the shawl.

Do a stretchy lace bind off. Knit 2 stitches, return them to the left needle and knit 2 together. Knit the next stitch on the left needle (two stitches now on the right needle). Move both of them back to the left needle and knit 2 together.
Repeat until you have bound off all but the last stitch.

Transfer the remaining stitch from your knitting needle to a crochet hook and chain 2. (I used a size G/4.00 mm crochet hook.) *Skip 1 bound off stitch.
In the next stitch, work 2 double crochets, chain 3, 2 double crochets (shell made). Skip 1 stitch.
In the next stitch, work 1 single crochet.*
Repeat from * to * across the row.

Cut yarn, pull through the final loop and weave in the end. Enjoy!

Mystery Stole 3 starts!

The first clue was posted on Friday for Mystery Stole 3. Melanie said a neutral color would be more in keeping with the stole's theme. I don't care; I'm not a neutral color person. I thrive on COLOR!

I had my 8/0 beads and a tiny crochet hook to add them to stitches in the stole. I still hadn't decided which yarn to use. Melanie widened my options when she revised her yarn estimate down from an initial 1200 yards to the actual 780 yards she used to knit the sample. I had planned on using one of the skeins of Skacel merino laceweight (1,375 yards) I had overdyed with Easter Egg color several weeks ago. Now, I was hestitant to use it. I only needed about 800 yards. It seemed wasteful to use it and have so much leftover. I'd rather save it for a larger project and use something closer in yardage for this project.

I went stash diving to see what my choices were. Trouble is, none of them called to me. What did keep telling me it wanted to be this stole is the peach pink Corriedale/tencel I spun some time back. At only 716 yards, it's a little shy of 780 yards. Oh well, my stole will be a little smaller. Melanie is giving directions on how to shorten it. Last year's stole was way too long for me at about 80" long.

I printed out the pattern sheets, taped them together, and gridded it in 10 stitch increments (starting from the center stitch of the chart) before casting on with a US size 6 circular. I started out adding the beads but didn't like how it looked with my yarn. It's a little variegated in color plus it's plyed with a shiny rayon. The beads were too much for it. So rip out and begin again.

I had forgotten how much I like knitting with my handspun. Cruising along, I added markers to my needles to match my gridded chart. This helps me keep my place and catch any mistakes before I get too far. I do not use lifelines, though they are helpful for some lace knitters.

Clue 1 was almost done Friday night before bedtime. I finished last night. This is a nice design! Here's a pic of what it looks like pinned out so you can see the pattern.

If you haven't joined the Yahoo group yet, don't delay. It will close to new members on July 6. Click here to go to the MS3 site.