Happy New Year! I know, I know–I’m a little late. I’ll blame the weather. I’ve had on my list for the past week, “blog post about snowflakes,” but the weather hasn’t been cooperative: I wasn’t able to get a decent picture until today. While yes, late sunrises and early sunsets play their share in the difficulty, this past week was also complicated by real snow–I spent a couple extra hours on commuting this week thanks to the snow on the roads. (Which seems always “conveniently” timed to the morning drive in–has snow never heard of “midday?)
So you’d think I’d be sick of snowflakes–and of the real stuff, I am–and it’s still the first half of January! But I still like my thread snowflakes.
These are more of the tatted snowflakes that I’ve shown off in the past. I think I’m going to count this project as “done” now. For one thing, it’s the sort of project that could go on indefinitely–how many snowflakes on a tree is too many?–so if I don’t call an end point it will never be done. For another, I’d really like to cross it off my list. But I might still continue to make some of the small ones–they go fast.
The patterns come from a variety of sources–I don’t even remember where I found the small snowflake now; it might have been an old issue of McCall’s Needlework. The big star shaped one, which probably took the longest was from a book of my Grandma’s. And the large square one–which wins the “most fiddly” award–comes from a back issue of Piecework (Nov.-Dec. 2004). If you look closely, it doesn’t want to lie flat–there’s simply too many knots too close together for it to do so. The picture in Piecework lies flat, so either I didn’t quite make it correctly–knots bunched too closely together perhaps, or the pattern as written and the picture shown aren’t quite the same. Given that the pattern leaves a bit to the tatter to work out (it doesn’t actually specify the number of repeats, for instance), it really could go either way. (The large star-shaped doesn’t lie flat at the moment either, but that’s a storage error.)
To finish the snowflakes I soaked them in a 50/50 water and white glue solution and let them dry. I can’t wait to add them to my snowflake tree next year!
(And yes, I did see Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s knitted lace snowflake–I was briefly tempted, but the fiddlyness is more than I want to attempt….um…I hope!)
As I try to get back into the swing of things blog- and knitting-wise, it seemed the easiest first thing to do would be provide some updates on projects previously featured. First (and best) up, the one project I managed to finish last year (2013), Rock Island.
The obligatory blocking photo. I hadn’t realized ’til I went to block that the top edge isn’t actually straight across.
I always love how delicately lace shawls block out. They can feel so lightweight afterwards, that I almost feel as if they’ve shed pounds in the bath.
I did love knitting this. The pattern was a simple repeat, but delicate enough–and at a loose enough gauge–that attention still had to be paid to the knitting. The yarn, which I believe is no longer available, sadly, was a joy to knit with. And as usual for me, the biggest hurdle to a finished object was weaving in the ends–it’s not that I mind the actual weaving in so much, but where do you put them in a delicate lace?!
Pattern: Rock Island by Jared Flood
Yarn: Fibre-Isle Niji [Ravelry link]: a lace / 2 ply of 70% bamboo, 15% bison, 15% cashmere
Needle: US 3 (3 25 mm)
This is a project that seems plagued by languishing. Started in 2007, then left alone for two years before a frogging and restarting, making it further the second time before being left alone again. I finally picked it up again this summer and made great progress, finally finishing in early October. At which time it was forced to wait over a month before I was able to block it. Once blocked, I was thoroughly stumped by how to photograph it. Every stole I’ve knit before is symmetrical, which I find much easier to take pictures of: you only really need to worry about one half. This, not so much.
Of course, I finally worked out how to get some pictures and then I proceeded to let them sit on my camera for a week. It’s looking like my New Year’s resolution will need to be “get things finished in a timely manner”!
Pattern: Swan Lake by Melanie Gibbons
Yarn: The Alpaca Yarn Co. Suri Elegance
Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm) for the body and US 0 (2 mm) for the “wing”
This was my first (and only, so far) beaded knit. You can just make them out in the following picture. I’m still on the fence as to whether I like beads in my knitting, but I didn’t have any trouble adding them here. I have no idea what beads I used; they were some I picked up at the local craft store.
Overall, I’m very happy with this project. (And happy to have such a long-standing WIP finished!)
Swan Lake is complete:
Blocking later this week, I hope. As it turned out, I had plenty of yarn (nice change of pace from some recent projects!)
Rock Island is coming. The lace border has turned out to be a really easy pattern, essentially two rows, staggered. The yarn (Louet Mooi, although mine is branded Fibre-Isle Niji) is lovely to work with. I’m almost disappointed that it appears to no longer be availabe, if it weren’t for the price!
Of course, as soon as I took this picture, I dropped some yarn overs! The problem with knitting triangular shawls from the outside in with slipper yarn: it’s really rather easy to drop stitches right off the ends of the needles and watch them go running. Rest assured, everyone is back in their proper place and I didn’t mind in the least the chance for some extra time with this lovely yarn.
Although I, like many, always associate the beginning of Fall with Labor Day, (and an associated drop in the temperatures), it officially arrived yesterday—a development I find very pleasing. I like summer in the theoretical sense: that is in January summer is very appealing, but the arrival in June of hot, humid temperatures always dampens my appreciation for the season. Surprisingly this summer, I managed to knit through quite a bit of the uncomfortable days. I discovered if I sat just so in relation to a ceiling fan, I could usually knit contentedly. I had hoped to have at least one new shawl finished fir the start of fall. Rock Island, at least. Instead I have three partially completed shawls. But since one is approaching the finish, one is to the last section, and one I just enjoy a bit too much to care, I’m not disappointed.
If you recall, Rock Island was being employed as an “incentive” knit. I hit my goals for the other two shawls, which should have allowed me to start the lacey mid-section of Rock Island, but I was sucked in by the new chart for Swan Lake. After completing the main section (my goal) for Swan Lake, I looked ahead and noticed that the “wing” is attached similarly to a knit-on edging, only instead of a short repeating pattern, it grows every other row in a triangular manner. It seemed that it would be quick enough to get through the first chart of this new section, so I started. Then decided that I might as well finish off the thing while it’s on the top of the work basket.
I’m approaching the end of this one (although it’s starting to drag as the rows get longish), so Rock Island waits. With the change in seasons, sweaters are beginning to call out my name (this usually starts in August, but I was determined to make progress on the lace this year), so I might turn that direction next, but I would like to get Rock Island finished as well. As for my third lace of the summer, Aeolian: it might just have to wait for a while. The rows are a bit too long right now to encourage me that direction.
So I guess my fall is looking a bit pre-planned: finish Swan Lake, finish Rock Island, finish Ondule (sweater). The real question: will any new project lure me in or am I destined for another round of finishitupitis? Only the knits will tell…
I’ve been very busy knitting lately–it seems that although I’ve felt a certain sluggish reluctance to do much productive or active this summer (perhaps symptomatic of the excess of study I’ve been doing, perhaps it’s a summer thing), I’ve managed to complete more knitting these last few months than I did in the colder winter weather more conducive to knitting. Lace, perhaps, should be blamed. Although it is more likely the fact that I finally made it to a new project, one that hadn’t been hanging over my head for years or that was in some sort of redo stage.
This would be that lace. The edging of Rock Island, 100% complete.
I believe I mentioned in my previous post that this has been serving as my incentive project. I decided to not allow myself to move past the edging until I had finished the Final Agave chart for Aeolian (check) and another 20 rows of Swan Lake (check). So earlier this week, I moved on to the next step of Rock Island.
This is the first pattern I’ve come across which utilizes YO loops to simplify the picking up of knit stitches. In the picture above, you can just see the YO loops on the side of the edging. The instructions next say to pick up and knit in those loops, giving specific guidance as to how many stitches to be created from each loop. I found this ridiculously easy, especially as compared to other “pick up and knit” patterns and especially after I threaded a spare circular through all the loops. Of course, the method only works when a line of yarn overs running through the knitting is acceptable!
A detail view of the picked up YOs:
After all the picking up, a stretch of garter stitch and decreasing to begin forming the triangle of the shawl and arrive at the right stitch count for the next lace chart. At this point it looks rather ruffly on the needle. I can’t wait to dive into the lace chart (I’m only a row or two away), but I think I’ll continue using this as an incentive and try to finish the current chart for Swan Lake first. I’m still hoping to have one or more new shawls for the fall–if I keep on track with this incentive program, maybe I can even have three!
As hoped for, the yarn in stash worked out perfectly for Rock Island. I did waffle a bit—I have a lot of lace weight to choose from!—but in the end both color (more solid than variegated) and quantity (one yarn would have been lovely, but its yardage so much greater than required that it really deserves a larger project) won out for the original selection.
The pattern is worked from outside in, starting with the edging and then picking up stitches for the inner border. It will be incredibly easy to pick up those stitches—there are very obvious yarn over loops to work with. I didn’t even need to include a vertical ‘lifeline’ as I am on my (very stalled) Lerwick. The edging is also a relatively simple repeat—8 rows, with no more than 16 stitches per row. However, there are no “rest rows,” so I don’t suppose I could technically call this an easy pattern. Just about as easy as a pattern without rest rows and requiring picking up of stitches can get, though.
Despite the ease of the pattern, I’ve stalled out a little bit: first, I was worried it wasn’t open enough(!)—a quick pin-out eased my mind on that, and second, I’m trying to balance out my various lace projects this summer—a combination of trying to finish everything and avoiding boredom by repetition. Looking at this picture, though, it’s time to return to Rock Island!