Oak Grove Cardi: 5 balls gone

Decreasing for the left front flap.

I am getting more and more doubts about the pattern. At the moment the back panel isn’t long enough and hangs awkward… I’m hoping blocking will fix it… but I know from previous experiences that blocking seldom does. Blocking only fixes lace.

I wish I had done this pattern on bigger needles with bigger yarn, to try it out. To do this on 3,25mm… might have been a time consuming mistake.

I do have gauge and do follow the pattern precisely. But it sits awkward…

I wonder if I should block it first, before I pick up stitches for the sleeves. Just to try out the shape. But blocking might distort the armholes and thus the sleeves…

Weird Wool Wednesday: holding on to an ugly duckling

Temptress is finished. I love this shawl so much! It may well be one of the greatest shawls I ever knit. My favourite designer, high end yarn (half silk, half cashmere!) in the colour that flatters me most and with sparkly, quality beads for which I had to wait a few days.

The shawl itself I knit in just six days which is a record for lace, with beading. That’s how much I enjoyed it!

Here it is, pre-blocking:

All it needs is a gentle soak, a surface to be spread upon and 500 pins to stretch it into shape. Then it will become a most beautiful swan! I can’t wait!

Blocking makes lace. It’s a real nice thing to see, lace preblocked and after blocking.

Ravelry as a whole thread with pictures of lace before and after blocking.

Then why have I not blocked my shawl????

I’ve been carrying my duckling shawl and 500 pins with me everywhere I go for 12 days now. I have not blocked (or worn) it. Apparently I can wait… for a swan…

 

more blocks for the Karma Blanket

The tombola wheel we use to determine the winner in the Lucky Swap Thread. When not in use it is gathering dust under the bed of one of the members.

A design by a Classical Singer who educated us about rhythmes in threes that switch, called Hemiola. This design knits rhythmically!

A block for my handspun to shine in. Literally since this yarn has a high silk content.

Sheep in a meadow (currently without red Noro-legs)

a blanket block in double knitting

One of the blocks for the Karma Blanket is in double knitting. I’ve never done this technique before.


I had heard of it as a story of leisurely ladies from the past who could knit two socks at once, the one hidden inside the other. By alternating yarn with every stitch you’d work two socks with every round. After binding off you’d do the magic trick and pull one sock from the other Tadaaah!
Hoping that in all those 30.000 stitches you had not mixed up the yarns once and knit one sock with the yarn from the other, because that would mean the two socks connected, with only one stitch, and NO WAY to separate them.

This block wants the two layers of knitting connected. By switching the yarn from the front side with the back side you get a patterned fabric. Identical on both sides but mirrorred.

With each stitch you have to bring the two yarns to the front or the back and then knit one of the strands. So it’s knitting ribbing all the time while keeping track of where you are in the pattern. I really had to concentrate. I could not watch a video during this, I resorted to BBC Radio 4 iPlayer instead.

I used the hours to practice knitting with two strands over my left finger, picking up the strand I needed. Until now I usually have one strand to the left and one to the right. The left I pick up knitting Continental Combined, the right using English Throwing.

 

Knitting a knit stitch:

Knitting a purl stitch:

They were a few joyfull hours. I love learning new techniques. And this technique, with its constant switching from knit to purls, is especially fitting for my usual knitting style: Continental Combined. To learn to add double strands to it was a pleasure.

This knitting was made while listening to:

  • Jennifer Saunders reading from her autobiography Bonkers, My Live in Laughs
  • Hester Blumenthal about inspirational cooking from England’s past and his modern adaptations
  • an Inspector Grant novel about the innocence of Richard III (Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. hello White Queen!) which makes me want to read more of them.
  • a report about the Silk Industry in Macclesfield, UK, which boomed in the Industrial era. Here they have 3 story high Weaver Cottages with large windows on the top floors so the women who lived there would have good weaving light. This I found interesting enough that I laid down the knitting and surfed the web to see how those looked like:

 

Weird Wool Wednesday: grumpy knitting

I’m so very grumpy.
I’m Grumpy McGrumpyPants for all grumps and purposes.

I’m also trying to knit. This does not go well.
Untitled

This is supposed to become a square for the Karma Blanket, it’s a free design from my own hand (mental note: don’t do freestyle when grumpy)
(another note: don’t design when grumpy)
Inspired by a Daisy (don’t diasy when grumpy)
In a legend I’m not familiar with (don’t do difficult legends when grumpy)
With k9tog and M9 in the same stitch… I assume (don’t assume when grumpy)
Which is not test knitted (don’t do non tested patterns when grumpy)

The original is so nice!

Big Daisies by Olga Jamovidova from website New Lace Old Traditions which honours and reinvents the beautiful knitted lace of Estonia.

Such beauty! And cheerful. I love daisies. But not today. I’ve messed it up over and over. Can’t read, can’t count, can’t knit.
Also I just spend 40 minutes lost in the maze of a hospital phone services. Someone is grating brick outside my house. I’m hungry but too neauseous to eat. My family is on a trip and I’m not. And on Ravelry people are again making cheeky innuendo which taints my group experience and makes me back away (on a good day).

The only good thing today is that my yarn is a happy yellow.
As is the treat bag Nelly, our adoptive-cat-away-from-home, cons her way into:
Untitled

Nelly is a lovely animal who lives in a shelter permanently. She’s a character!

Nelly resides at Stichting Zwerfdier, together with other cats that will not be placed in homes.
Nelly can’t hold her urine due to a car accident that also took her tail. Besides that she’s a lovely, cheerful cat. Hasn’t known a grumpy day since she came to live in the pension!

Awww, let me go hug my own cat. She’s always willing to cheer me up. Chew some misbehaving knitting.

Seduced by Lace and Sparklies

On Monday the new beads arrived. Bigger, brighter beads. They are triangle shaped (catching the light from all angles), transparent with a silver lined hole. Here are the same sort beads but in a gold version:

kralen

I got my beads and this photo them from Kralenwerk.nl, an online shop run by a very friendly and professional couple. And they love cats, especially Birmans.

Post arrived at 12.15 hours.
First bead was placed on the knitting at 12.34

Now we are 4 days further. I’ve been ill, laying on the couch, twiddling my thumbs. And here’s where that gets me:

At the final chart on the final page. Just creating those last few rows of lace… I just can’t stop!

The beads are a pleasure. They are beautiful, sparkly, very smooth (also on the inside so they don’t snag or damage the yarn), and it’s a pleasure to put them on. I use a very small crochet hook for that and I get them on a stitch before I work the stitch. The bigger size beads are such an improvement! They really bring the shawl alive. No glancing over them this time!

I’m using a Chiagoo Red Lace needle in the size 3,75mm that the pattern specifies (usually I go down a size but BooKnits is a loose knitter too) and towards the end -where I am now- it is suggested to use a 4 mm needle. This will open up the lace magnificently.

The yarn is divine too, it’s Tulp in the colour Stud by DutchKnittingDesign.com. A mix of silk and casmere, so soft, SO SOFT. And they have gorgeous colours. Silk will do that to you. This skein was a present I gave myself about 16 months ago. Been afraid to touch it ever since, except for petting it and admiring the colour. But now it just zooms away, so eager to become this beautiful shawl.

 pic by DutchKnittingDesign.com

Mind you, I never cared much for lace knitting.
It’s a whole lot of work for a flimsy piece of knitting that won’t keep you warm. But this Summer my friend and knitwear designer Meilindis wore a beautiful lace shawl on her wedding day and it was soft, gorgeous and exquisite and I couldn’t stop petting it and her. That’s how I got to appreciate lace: a lovely design in a high end lace yarn, using high end beads in a design that matches the mood of the wearer.

Didn’t plan on knitting a lace design in laceweight yarn any time soon though. It’s still a lot of work. But then BooKnits had a Knitting Along (KAL) on Ravelry. And I’ve loved her designs for very long, with the half crescent shapes and the dramatic feeling to it.
I hadn’t planned on it but somehow I found myself casting on for the one design I’ve wanting to do for a long time: Temptress by BooKnits:

This is a picture from her pattern page.
I love the shapes! The holes! The points! The dramatics! The ration between yarnweight and needle size!

The magic with lace knitting is it looks all crumpled up until you block it. Then it opens up beautifully. I love her style, with the big open holes. Since starting one of her designs and reading through the many informative posts in her group, I’ve learned she gets these holes by blocking “thuggishly” as she herself puts it.
Also, this is called “true lace” when on both the right side and the wrong side you have to pay attention and use different stitches. You can see how many times there’s just a single strand visible near the holes. That’s when on both sides the knitter does a trick. When all the returning rows are just trickless knitting, the holes are defined with twisted strands, like the little X-shaped threads you see at the top of the picture, just below and to the side of the top beads.
Easier to knit, less dramatic.

I’m having much fun with my Tulip Temptress. As this design has been a favourite of mine for a long time, I’m sure I will knit it again some day. Playing with the design elements.
Next time I’ll use a yarn without memory, such as silk or bamboo (don’t like bamboo), and perhaps even bigger needles so it really opens up and resembles BooKnits shawl. I might have to spin that silk lace yarn… I’m too cheap to buy it at the moment…
But perhaps I’ll use a fuzzy lace yarn from the stash? that would be interesting too.

Yes, there’s enough flimsy holey knitting in my future to dream about. With sparklies!
Because I also bought a whole bunch of these at Kralenwerk.nl : garnet lined chartreuse triangle Miyuki size 5 beads

All the wrong colours for me, since they are warm. But who cares? These are beautiful and will make a beautiful dramatic shawl and I will wear it and it will match my mood and I will look beautiful!

Weird Wool Wednesday: Princess Sheep at Night

I’m a yarn snob. I want my yarn to be from a sheep, from European breeds, non superwash and appropriate for the goal I have in mind, thankyouverymuch.

I use it all around the house, all day long. At night I sleep on a woolen mattress, under 3 or 4 woolen blankets (thank you thyroid), wearing wrist warmers and a hat at night. And kneehigh bed socks.

But my bed socks…. they are acrylic. Because acrylic smothers the skin, keeping it warm. It is sturdy and wears well while being soft enough to wear next to the skin.

 

shh, don’t tell the sheep

picture by Cécile Graat

Oak Grove Cardigan: three balls gone; one front finished.

I’m not sure about that front panel… I got a bit carried away with the decreases. It does sit ok when I try it on, it seems to work then.
The problem is I have not found a picture of how the pattern is supposed to look like, not a picture of someones cardigan spread out flat.

Not wanting to think about it right now, I’ve picked up the live stitches at the center back and have knitted the remainder of the third ball of yarn. The fourth is now attached and I’m working my way to the left front panel, using the notes I made. WHen I get to the decreases of the left front panel I’ll see what I’ll do.
I just bought myself some knitting thinking time. There’s a good chance I’ll frog the right front panel and redo it one more time.

This might be a Goldilocks Cardigan: first too wide, now too narrow.

(the felting designing collar Wensleydale thing? ahum. It turned out last week had one day less than usual. Yes, Wednesday did not appear in my week somehow. It was Wednesday evening when I discovered it was not, in fact, Tuesday and that the next day would be a Thursday. This threw my Wensleydale plans off balance…)

Weird Wool Friday: when knitting speaks

So I made a mistake in Oak Grove Cardigan and it has grown way too big and I have to frog a substantial part of it. Like 15 hours of work on it. They’ve been for nought, they have to go. I cannot bring myself to do that so…

…I cast on a difficult lace shawl that uses beads:

It’s the Mystery Halloween shawl by Boo! Knits. The pattern is called Morticia. It’s a delight!

BooKnits advises to use beads a bit bigger than this. I’ve started to agree with her. It took a while to make up my mind but I’ll admit it: these beads are too small:

So I ordered new beads. And am waiting for that order to be processed. Then I will have to frog this shawl, all 18 hours I’ve put in it, and start over….

…which is why I cast on another difficult lace shawl that uses beads which I happen to have in the right size:

This is Temptress, also a design by Boo!knits.

The beads are Miyuki seed beads 6/0. These are chrystal clear round beads with a rainbow shine over them. I have ordered silver lined chrystal triangle beads 5/0 which will sparkle more but I’m still waiting for the order and tried to tell myself these work fine too. They do……

…not. This shawl will be so much better with the silver lined ones…. but I did not want to admit this. It would mean frogging all 8 hours work I’ve put into this one and starting over again…

…which is when my yarn bowl broke:

OK. I’ll listen.
I’ve put all shawls on halt. I’ll wait for beads. I’ve frogged Oak Grove Cardigan as far as necessary. I am knitting on it agian now, very merrily.
Now for some good glue…