August 28, 2010

Shawl #8

I never thought I'd make it to 10 shawls this year since, to be honest, I'm all 'shawled out'', and finding shawls to make has been something of a challenge.  I have all these rules about which shawls I could or would make and I had so much criteria that I almost ruled out ALL shawls.  Until this one, that is.

The Swallowtail Shawl was such a quick knit that I amazed my own self.  It's amazing how the smallerr shawls knit up so quickly compared with how the big shawls seemed to take forever. I used some yarn from a company no longer inn business called Mystical Creations Yarn and they described it only as hand dyed fingering/lace weight wool, a size US #5 needle, and this is how it started:

This yarn is older than Central Park dirt and the color was still pretty vibrant (loud and screamy, in fact), but after washing and blocking, it toned itself down by a lot:

In fact, most of the turquoise came out in the bath and the shawl is still a little colorful, but in a good way.   I was advised by the ladies in the knitting class not to dye it, so I won't.

I'd say I like this shawl enough to keep it, but I don't.  I like the pattern well enough, it was pretty easy to memorize, and it was certainly a worth it knit.  I'll make it again one day, but I'll probably use a solid color.  Now I'm going to have to spend some time looking for a home for it, which is no easy task.

Gotta say, though, I love blocking wires but I only used them across the top this time.  I used pins on the points which aren't perfect, but good enough.

And in case you're on Ravelry, the yarn I used is the same yarn I used for the Daybreak Golds shawl:

My yarn magically replaces itself while I'm knitting, I think.  How can I  make two shawls with one seemingly small ball of lace and still have enough to make another shawl.  It's a mystery.

On to the next shawl: Calais.  Wish me a speedy finish! 

August 21, 2010

La La La!

I was going to brag blog about this shawl next month when it was time to enter it into the 10 Shawls for 2010, but I just couldn't wait!  I knit this shawl in about 2 weeks and it came out beautifully, if I say so myself!

This is La Cumparsita:

This shawl is for my friend Marietta who put in a special request after seeing the Spring Trellis Shawl.  (She doesn't know how that shawl drove me crazy with it's nupps and the hairiness of the yarn!).  Still, in the name of destashing, I was happy to comply with her wish for a shawl.

Part of Marietta's request for the shawl she wanted was the color, and her #3 color request was teal.  Well ... if you dim the lights, close one eye and tell people it's teal, then it is.  Right?  People have to believe what you tell them, don't they?  What color does it look to you?

That said, the shawl is done, it's pretty and soft, the pattern repeats were easy to memorize and the end result is stunning.  I'm just glad I didn't use sock yarn, although if I'd have had my druthers, I would have made this shawl with some tone-on-tone or muted colors.

Sarah's Yarns, 2 ply Mongolian cashmere
US #6 needles, approximately 500 yards
Pattern: easy, it practically flew off the needles

Next up: the Swallowtail which I started yesterday and I've only got 23 rows to go before finishing.  Yay!

August 20, 2010

While Recovering

This is like one of those 'what I did on my summer vacation' essays I had to do for school.  Instead, this is the 'what I did while home recovering from surgery' essay.  It wasn't a vacation, of course, but it would have been if I had been able to get my son to cook dinner and my cat to wash the dishes.  Oh well.  The good news is that I got some knitting done.  Yay!

First I finished the Fountain Pen Shawl which I'm keeping for myself.  I looooooooooove this shawl! 

This shawl is as soft as a bunny!
And I knit up a few pairs or children's socks for charity:

Then I finished shawl #7 which  I can't show you just yet, but I can tell you that it's called La Cumparsita and it's already got a home to go to - all the way to Georgia!  Marietta, I hope you like it!  Here's a sample view:

Thank goodness for blocking wires.  They're a pain in the butt to thread through the garment, but they save a lot of time I would otherwise spend pinning.  If you don't have any, but want some, I got mine at Knit Picks.

Then I started on shawl #8 which is halfway done, but don't pay attention to it now, I plan to dye it.  It's the Swallowtail Shawl, a lovely shawl it is, and easy to make:

I still need two shawl patterns to knit.  I've been searching high and low for shawls I like that require 500 yards or less of yarn since I more than made my quota of "big" shawls.  Any suggestions?

Off I go to knit something!  Happy knitting!

August 11, 2010

Number 6

My commitment to 10 Shawls in 2010 is in crunch time.  Now I have to make one shawl per month since I just posted shawl #6 yesterday and there's only a little more than 4 months left in the year.  Can you believe it?!  I'm totally not going to get to holiday knitting any time soon!

So, I had three skeins of Misti Alpaca laceweight yarn in a deep plum color (only used 1 1/2 skeins), US #4 needles and the Fountain Pen Shawl pattern.  Honestly, the yarn was so dark that the only thought I had while knitting this shawl was who I can give it to.  Not everyone appreciates dark colors, or shawls for that matter.  I wracked my brain and still no one came to mind.

The true color of this yarn didn't show up until it was washed and blocked.  It wasn't nearly as dark as I thought:

It was oh my gosh light, airy and soft as butter - softer, and I knew that the only person who would love it like the sweet baby it is is ME!  I love it and I'm keeping it!

The true color showed up wonderfully and, surprisingly, I didn't make one mistake.  I can tell you that Miss Kitty and I got into an almost tug of war over it.  She dug her claws in and it turned into a Mexican standoff, both of us staring into each other's eyes waiting to see who would give in first.  She didn't pull and neither did I.  All I can say is that I won, and no one should ever have to have a stare down with a cat.

So I'm one shawl richer, and I'm happy about it.  Yay!

Now I've got only a few weeks to come up with another pattern, knit it up and post it.  While I'm doing that, I have to make some children's socks for charity and finish some socks I started for myself and never got back to.

Let the stash busting continue.

August 04, 2010

Feeling Hot Hot Hot

Can it get any hotter?  Oy!  It's not the heat (100+ degrees) it's the humidity and on days like this even taking a cold shower doesn't help.  It's too hot inside, and the mosquitos make mince meat out of me outside, so there is no respite.  I almost wish for Fall - almost.

Instead, I stayed inside (mostly) to knit and rest and knit and rest.  Considering the heat, you can imagine how I felt about this mountain of yarn sitting in my lap:

It feels like a volcano on my lap, but I'm almost done with shawl #6 of my 10 Shawls in 2010 commitment.  A few more rows and it'll be the Fountain Pen Shawl.

I was content to knit on this shawl until the heat overtook me and I had to find something else to do, so I sewed the buttons on this Presto Chango sweater that I finished awhile ago:

The sweater got washed so many times that the buttons don't match anymore, but I'm not about to rip them off.  I could have (and should have) gone with wooden buttons as I originally planned, which would have made the sweater more timeless, but in this heat I didn't think.

Speaking of not thinking: today I received a new sock book, Knit Socks by Betsy Lee McCarthy, that I ordered about a month ago which I thought wasn't going to arrive until September.  When it came, I threw everything else down and started working on the cover sock immediately:

Now, these socks are supposed to be knit in 3 colors: cream, mint and blue.  So I scavenged around for thin sock yarn in solid colors - couldn't find any - so settled for this baby yarn. Well, I must have had 2 different blue yarns OR I don't know my colors OR I was so happy to have a new pair of socks to knit in all this heat that I didn't pay attention - or all three.

To correct he matter, the stripes on the main part of the sock should be all 3 colors, but they're not and they won't be.  Ultimately, these socks will not match, but they're for me and I don't care because I'll wear them anyway.  If they fit around my 'cankles' then they're good.

While I was knitting away I got to thinking how pretty these socks would be with a bead at the center of the flowers (not gonna happen on this pair) or if I'd used both blues and skipped the pale green.  Well, maybe just dreaming about knitting is better than actually knitting with all this humidity

Anyway, I'm off to finish something and I wish you all a cool breeze.

August 02, 2010


Well, the Tour de France ended on July 23rd, and while Lance Armstrong didn't win a stage (he came close, though) and he didn't win the Tour - the heavens saw fit for me to attach my Tour dreams to someone new: Andy Schleck.  He did an excellent job on the Tour.   Not that it was so easy for me to switch my affections, you understand, and Lance will always be my cycling darling, but he's hung up his Tour bike for good, he says.

The Tour de Fleece also ended on July 23rd, and right before the end - I had to go for surgery for an umbilical hernia.  It would have been a small issue, and the pain pills did their job, but there was the swelling and the heat wave and the stitches ... it all put me out of commission.  So, I didn't win a stage or the Tour either.  Unlike Lance, I'll be back next year.

Let me just say this before I put all Tour talk on the back burner: Lance Armstrong, if you think a pair of hand knit socks would be just divine, just drop me a line and I'll whip you up a pair.  Nothing says 'retirement' like lounging around in a pair of hand knit socks!  OK, I feel better.

Moving along,  I do have a skein to give away.  It's some lovely alpaca/tussah yarn in what was a lovely chocolate brown with little white bits of silk, but is now (because the tussah is white) a heathered brown:

It is as soft as a baby's bottom, and felt like hair (not mine) before it was spun, soft and silky.  This yarn was purchased at Rhinebeck in October 2009 from The Sheep Shed.

Spinning during a heat wave was no fun, and while the package had 16 ounces of fiber, I only spun up about half of it.  It was just too darned hot.  What you can make with 82 yards (8 wpi) of Navajo plied yarn is a mystery to me, but it's so soft it would be a shame to let it sit around in my house for eternity.

So, the final result is a small skein of buttery soft yarn which would make a good trip on a hat (at least!).  It'll surely keep your ears (or neck) warm.

If you think you'd like this skein of yarn, even though the yardage is low, please leave a comment and I will check back on Thursday at 1p Eastern and announce the winner, who will be chosen by the random number generator.

 And while all of my spinning is done for the time being, I'm almost done with the Fountain Pen shawl which is shawl #6 for my 10 Shawls in 2010 - only one more chart (of 3) to go.  Yay!  I'm kind of all 'shawled' out, but I plan to keep going.  Any suggestions for shawl 7?  Anyone?