Archive for the 'knitting' Category

Knitting on the Edge

Woodcut1Whenever I work on a lace shawl (or some other project where the design isn’t apparent until one blocks the knitting) I feel like I’m knitting on the edge. Give me a Fair Isle mitten any day for intuitively understanding if you’re knitting to the correct pattern (although possibly not if your gauge will fit the intended wearer).

Did I miss a yarn over? Are my stitches slanting the right way for the pattern? Did I mess up the first stitches that set up the pattern (the ones closest to my shoulders in this case, where they will be really hard to ignore)? I’ll move forward, like I always do, confident that even if I don’t get the pattern just so, I will still use it and learn from the experience. Call it knitter’s faith.

The design is beautiful: a sweet shawl called Woodcut designed by Karie Westermann. The current view of my project is not beautiful. If you’ve dealt with rice noodles in a packet…. that’s what it looks like (only super colorful). A jumble of strands with a small bit of patterning to clue you that I mean it to look that way.

No idea if the whole thing will break when I block it. It’s very fine yarn…. and I know it’s too thin technically for the pattern specs, but I was so curious to see how it would look knit up.

Specs:

  • Yarn: Schaeffer Yarn Company, Trenna
  • Colorway: Rosa Parks
  • Pattern can be found in This Thing of Paper

So, if you knit, do pottery, paint, or otherwise craft: what is on the edge of your comfort level? Do you find yourself re-doing steps, in an attempt to follow your idea, or do you step out blindly?

 

Holiday Knitting

ornamentandcardObviously I can’t show pics of finished items, although I might put some pics up on Ravelry before too long. I’ve been knitting a cotton and linen sampler neck wrap for a family member who gets cold under air conditioning. Lovely linen tape from a shop in Philadelphia called Hidden River Yarns, btw. I will try to get photos up soon, even if it’s just a closeup so you can see the stitch definition. I’ve been using stitches from the 365 Knitting Stitches a Year perpetual calendar, and it’s a fun project to test drive stitches for larger things. (Bramble stitch is great.)

In October, I knit a hat out of doubled laceweight yarn…. And I think it will fit a cousin. And then for the rest, it’s books or entertainment (for the kids), baked treats, or gift cards.

I found a kit I bought last summer for quilted Christmas stockings, and I think I need to put it away and just do the plain sewing projects I planned for November (the month is almost gone) in December.

So… how about you? Are you crafting this Christmas to avoid the lines and the mall and feeling like things are too commercial? Are you crafting to relieve stress after doing shopping and holiday prep? Or have you Cyber Mondayed everything (or decided not to do Christmas/Hannukah etc. or exchange presents)? It’s all legit.

Living vicariously

The posts I’ve seen about others’ trips to see the eclipse let me live vicariously. I would have loved to have planned something to go view it (we were in an area of partial eclipse, and were struggling to find an area of the yard free of clouds). Friends of mine went to the Jersey shore to view from the beach. Other friends drove to South Carolina.

I watched the NASA feed, and then enjoyed reading about trips to view the dance of the moon in front of the sun.  Check out Blonde Coyote’s post here. Lovely write up of a trip to Wyoming, and camping. You can see videos on the NASA website, if you were out of the viewing area, or fighting with clouds to view the shadows through a colander.

I’m also contemplating new patterns to knit, using lovely gift yarn. This pattern is really tempting: Woolly Woolhead’s Toph. And it reminds me a little bit of the patterns I could see through tree shadows during the eclipse. Tamara Adams posted a lovely pattern of coasters for the eclipse (link goes to Ravelry), which might be fun to create for tree decorations this year.

Keep looking up (unless there’s an eclipse and you don’t have special glasses…. then look down for shadows).

 

 

Getting back to normal-ish

Between this being the year of personal life challenges (loss of a beloved cat, loss of a dearly loved aunt) and struggling to fight against the negative energy in the air these days…. I’ve found that after I finish knit projects, I just *don’t* pick up the needles again. The world has been a bit too distracting and poisonous for me to trust my gauge. This lack of knitting mojo is not normal.

Reading has also been a bit “meh”. I’ll get started on a book, and then the characters feel flimsy, or the book doesn’t work with my mood (think I found a good one though… if it sticks to darkly farcical instead of veering into horror writing, I will be relieved).

I’ve been sketching. Nothing for the press yet, but I’m getting close. I’m contemplating something written with my next print piece, so we’ll see how far I get on it.

Today, I’m reading Knitty.com with a great deal of interest.

  • Ancyra by Susan Schira combines mosaic design with colors like antique smalti (visit Ancyra pattern here).
  • Wolkig by Martina Behm looks like a cowl in an upscale window on the Konigstrasse. I love how it looks, but would want to use a light, misty blue or copper for this design. Very inspiring.
  • And if you have scrap yarn that you want to show off, Longwing looks like a project that you could do while watching t.v. or reading. Am I right, or is it more complicated?
  • The cool tools section provides a lot of ideas for knitter gifts (hint, hint). Currently in love with this book.

Amy and co. have upped their game. Tusen tak!

And while things are getting back to normal-ish, the WordTapstry blog is likely to continue to be sporadic. Although I might manage to get pics up of the garden. It’s been glorious.

 

May Days

trailingvinesThe days are filled with flowers. This whole week has also been rainy, so I pause to marvel at a new bloom, a new bud forming, and rain drips down my raincoat’s hood, and slowly runs down the bridge of my nose. I’m loading photos onto my flickr feed as fast as I can. The colors are fabulous.

We’ve seen the first stirrings of the fig tree closest to the house coming back. Leaves have unfurled like tightly wrapped green fans, and I think I’ve seen some of the breve’ figs. The Gardener has been fighting a fight to the death with old tree roots, trying to get a patch set up for new raspberry bushes (a more intricate endeavor than I knew, with lots of space needed between the canes… and no idea if that means between the roots as well).

Also with spring comes: Mother’s Day and the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. It’s always either raining, or blistering hot, with lots of hours spent hiking about looking at the alpacas in pens, sheep shearing, and sheep on parade.

In the merry month of May, the Midatlantic region gets ready for Preakness . Preakness is always an exciting time, with tours of the stables at sunrise, and the unveiling of the Mayor’s hat (there is a female mayor in Baltimore right now…. I’m not sure a man’s tophat would be all that interesting). The stars, of course, are the jockeys and horses that come to Pimlico to race, and it get very exciting. [It also gets very tempting to go to the free sunrise tours, to see what the track looks like.]

The bird watching has been marvelous: titmice, mockingbirds, blue jays, red tail hawks, a brown creeper, and maybe a wood thrush. We’re ignoring the cardinals and robins that never seemed to leave. (I’m also ignoring politics right now. Focusing on birdsong, flowers, and a weekend that’s packed with too many things. MD Sheep & Wool is always a grand time, by the way. But I’m double-triple-booked.)

15 row countdown to next pattern shift – concerns about yarn

I’m still knitting on the Oslo shawl, doggedly trying to get to the next pattern shift (graph 2), and wondering if there will be enough blue and white for graph 3. If you click on the link, you should be able to get to the details page. As each row get longer, i get a little more concerned that I’ll run out of blue or white. Kind of wish that the store had more of the yarn (seabago) in the same lot so I could add a few more rows and maybe make mittens. If it washes, and keeps its color, I will be on the lookout for more of this, because knitting it is lovely.

Unfortunately very few good photos of the shawl in progress, because I’ve been stuck inside with a head cold on the one  sunny day when I could have gone out to take photos on my lunch break. The world turning dark while I’m driving home in the evenings is the trade off for the beautiful riot of autumn color on the trees at sunrise. We’ve had some sugar maples turn, and the streets up the block are red and yellow with fallen leaves…looking a bit like they’re paved in gold.

Many single stitches make a pair of socks

… and I feel like I remember knitting every single one of the stitches that made up my “Pinkie” project*. These socks are great, the pattern is fairly easy to “remember” as you go along, but they aren’t good knitting when you’re interrupted by a sidewinder (kitten).

pinkieSpecs for Socks:

Designer: Nancy Bush

Child’s French Sock

Knit in size small (I always have sock yarn left over, and these were 2 generous hanks of Shepherd Sock multi won during a raffle at a yarn retreat in Massachusetts). Yarn was donated by Lorna’s Laces in a special dye lot called “no yellow”, and it made a splendid multi-color yarn without flashing too much. I’d love to see what the dyer would come up with a “no red” colorway.

My Flickr feed is currently glacial, so I’m not sure when any of my pictures will pop up. But for now, here’s a photo of the obligatory sidewinder, duking it out with corn husks leftover from dinner:

kittenhusk

* In case you’re wondering about “Pinkie”, like many children of my age, I had pictures lovingly hand stitched in Berlinwork/needlepoint of both Pinkie and Blue Boy on my bedroom walls. In my case, done by my grandmother.


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