Don’t worry, all my old posts and pictures have been moved to the new blog, so you will only have one place to go.
I finished up two projects this week, and just realized that they are both silver. I've been on such a blue streak, it kind of suprises me.
I finally FINALLY finished the baby blanket I started a year ago! It was a great beginner project, but I got distracted with lace knitting and never came back to it, having grown bored with the yards and yards of stockinette stitch. But it is done at last, my Bug's Baby Blanket. (He's almost three, so maybe it should be called a toddler blanket?)
I used Homespun in Regency, and carried a second yarn in a silvery grey color with it so that it had a more shimmery, silvery appearance. Because I didn't know any better, I used a smaller needle size than maybe I should have, but it made a nice dense fabric. This sucker is sturdy, and should last just about forever.
My pride and joy, though, is my Silver Aeolian Shawl. About 830 yards of silver alpaca lace, beaded along the edging, and light, soft, and warm.
I am ridiculously proud of myself for this one, and have taken a ton of pictures. I can't wait to actually wear the thing, and have experimented in the mirror with different ways to wrap it. It's quite versatile. I'll probably get more pictures of me wearing it, and bore you all with those as well. ;-) I gave my first lace shawl away, and it was well-deserved and I was glad to send it off. But I've wanted one for myself ever since and now I have one that I love just as much as the first one I made.
One more parting shot, a close up of the nupps (pronounced "noops") and beads. Seriously, I'm stupid proud of this sucker. If you belong to Ravelry, you can see my project page here.
It's April! I started knitting exactly one year ago this month, and I am still going strong! I knit just about every day unless I'm pretty sick, which has only been a couple of days in the past year. I even knit while hooked up to an IV in pre-op, waiting for surgery! I had to make very clear notes on the project I was working on before I went in, because I knew I'd be a bit loopy for a few days and didn't want to foget where I was.
I'm on my fifth shawl for my 11 in 2011 challenge. I already showed you #1, so here is my Shawl #2. It started life as a ball of yarn that just wasn't quite as cute as I wanted it to be. It looked like this:
I can see this yarn being adorable in the right project, but for this one, not so much. Too much variation of color to let the leaf pattern show, and the pink just didn't say "leaves of lothlorien" to me. So I overdyed the whole thing in brown, and came up with my Dying For Legolas shawl:
My little one stole the shawl and wouldn't give it back! He still snatches it away from me when he sees it.
I also finished Shawl #3, my Delta Damask:
I got the yarn and the pattern in a swap organized in the Knit Picks Lovers group on Ravelry. It came from a wonderful lady in Japan, just before the earthquake and tsunami hit over there. She and her family are fine, but I was thinking of the people who were hurt during the disaster while I was knitting this. In a way it's kind of like a Prayer Shawl, in that I knit and prayed. It is for me, though, so instead of providing comfort to someone else, it will remind me to think of the people of Japan and hold them in prayer every time I wear it.
The pattern is lovely, and the yarn has GREAT stitch definition. I have never used it before (Palette from Knit Picks in Delta), but love it and see many more projects with it in my future. At $1.99 a ball, it's a very economical new love!
There is a "missing" shawl in my completed projects list, too. I am not proud of this one. It was a very well-written pattern, and it did what I wanted it to do. I had two balls of coordinating yarn that I got in a trade, neither of which was large enough for a full project. I wanted them to blend together in a sort of gradient, and Daybreak did just that. But it is a LOT of stockinette knitting, and I get bored easily. So it was a great pattern, and I hated knitting it. I got sloppy. And I didn't go back to fix my mistakes, because I just wanted to get it done. Here's a sample of my sloppiness:
But as they say, if you can't see it from the back of a galloping horse, don't worry about it! And it looks just fine from a distance. It's very soft and warm, and I wear it as a scarf mostly, so the mistakes are REALLY not noticeable at all.
But it's not all shawls around here! Believe it or not, I've had time for a few other projects as well! I made a hot-water bottle cover for my new hot-water bottle, which keept my toes toasty this past winter:
I started with some natural yarn from Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller, Full O' Sheep, and dyed it using Wilton's icing dyes. I had to heavily modify this pattern to make it the way I wanted to, but I like the way it turned out and might be writing it up as a new pattern on Ravelry.
I have a few works in progress on the needles, I like to keep several going at the same time. I'm learning cables with a Celtic Knot Scarf for my sister, I'm working on a beaded shawl for myself, a second beaded stole with some yarn I hand dyed, and I'm still working on the baby blanket I started for my Bug when I first started knitting a full year ago! That one is boring to me now too, just knit knit knit, purl purl purl, no interesting stitches to keep me engaged. But I'm determined to finish it, so it has become my public knitting project.
So that's about it for now. Back to the needles! I want to finish my Aeolian Shawl before the 15th so that I can enter a contest using yarn from ColourMart. I also want to get that baby blanket done before the year anniversary of when I started it, on the 18th.
I'll post more as I get them done. =)
I joined a challenge to knit 11 shawls in 2011, and finished my first one about a week ago. It's a Swallowtail Shawl made in leftover silk yarn that I used for my mom's Christmas Wrap. It took me a few days to get around to blocking it (not my favorite task) and then I took advantage of this wonderful sunny weather to get some shots of it yesterday.
It's supposed to have a scalloped edge, but it doesn't want to stay like that. I blocked it with the points pulled out, but it relaxed back to this shape so I'm leaving it. Yarn wants to be what it wants to be! While pinned and blocking it was 60" wide and 30" long at the point. It probably relaxed a bit there, too, but I haven't remeasured it.
I love the feel of the fabric, and the pattern is beautiful. But these just aren't my colors. I think this is destined to be gifted.
Also got a shot of my mom wearing her shawl:
It really has a nice drape to it. She was wearing it like a traditional scarf, so I rearranged it for this shot. Part of me wonders if she was just wearing it to be nice. But she wore it, and I think she wore it well!
I don't want to start a tradition of me thinking someone loves these things and that person just being nice about them. You know how it goes; someone hears you like, oh I don't know, purple tigers or something. They buy you one, it's not really your cup of tea but you appreciate the effort and you're nice about it. They think that means you love it, so they keep buying you purple tigers. Maybe someone asks them for a gift idea, and they suggest something with purple tigers on it. Soon you're stuck with a collection you never really wanted, and it's too late to say anything about it because everyone thinks you love this stuff. I don't want that to happen with people I knit gifts for.
But if the knitted gift is truly appreciated and loved, I'm happy to keep on knitting! It would probably hurt my feelings to hear someone didn't like what I made them, but I'd rather know that at the first object than the twelfth, and I'd rather the item go to someone who truly loves it. Hand made gifts are about giving love and comfort to the recipient, not awkwardness and obligation.
Some more of my projects that are finished. They've been done for a while, I just got around to photographing them.
First, my Haruni Shawl.
This is knit in a deep purple cotton. I used a smaller size needle than recommended, because I didn't want to run out of yarn. It turned out a little smaller than I wanted, but makes a really nice scarf on a chilly day.
I finished this shawl while I was going through a difficult time, and it was comforting to be able to concentrate on a pattern that was complicated enough to keep my mind busy. I could knit and not think too much about what was going on. I think I finished this shawl faster than usual because of that, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.
I have signed up for a challenge, 11 Shawls in 2011. I couldn't start my next shawl until it was officially 2011, so I needed a small project to tide me over between finishing my Haruni shawl and starting my next one. I made the Tide-Me-Over Bohemian Scarf:
It's a simple garter stitch scarf that starts at a point on one end and is knit sideways, increasing to the widest section and then decreasing back to a point on the other end. It has a simple lace edging along one edge. I made this out of a cotton/linen blend, and modified the pattern to make it longer and wider. I used my new yarn scale to measure the yarn as I went, so that I'd use as much of it as possible.
And I managed to squeeze in a few smaller projects in December as well. Some fuzzy fingerless mitts to match my Haruni Shawl:
Another Christmas has come and gone. Last year, I endeavored to make every. single. gift. This year, I cut myself a break and did some bargain shopping. I did, however, make three gifts.
First was the Vernal Equinox Shawl that is seen in the post below. That was for my husband's dear aunt, Aunt D. She says she LOVES it and that it's so versatile. So yay! I hope she gets lots of good use out of it.
I also made this for my mom:
It's made from silk yarn that's been hand-dyed in Chile. It can be worn as a wrap around the shoulders, or as a scarf around the neck. It has a simple wave pattern that was easy to memorize, and it became my travelling project for a while.
I also knocked this one out for my sister:
It's a simple drop stitch pattern, but the yarn was a beast to work with. It's really pretty, three different novelty yarns wound together. But it's difficult to work with, and I lost two balls of it and needed to buy more. If I ever find the two I lost, I'll have three altogether, and that's three too many for me. I don't fancy doing another project with this yarn. But it did turn out pretty, and she liked it. Again, it is wide enough to be worn around the shoulders, or smooshy enough to be worn as a long, bulky scarf. Oh who knows, maybe I'll make myself a scarf out of this yarn after all. It really is pretty...
Next year I've taken on a 11 in 2011 Challenge. 11 Shawls in 2011, and I'm starting as soon as I can! I have eight shawls on my list so far, several more in my favorites to choose from. Chances are, if you're family and you're female, you'll be getting a shawl or wrap at some point this year. If you have any requests, let me know! It's a lot of shawls to make, but I made 5 last year and didn't even start until July. So I'm not concerned.
I sent the Vernal Equinox Shawl off to its intended recipient, and managed to snap some better shots before putting it in the mail.
I sent it with instructions on different ways to wear it. The last thing I want is fo this to be folded up and put in a drawer, unworn for fear of damaging it. It was made to be worn and used, and since she is far away it is my hug to her. I sure hope she likes it!
I also just finished a shawl for myself, a triangle shape with a crochet bind off. I'll snap some pictures of it once I've blocked it. I have three things to block before Christmas, better get going!
My first real knitting disaster:
See that? Right there in the middle, on the right?
I was working on Nancy Bush's Lily of the Valley Scarf from her book Knitted Lace of Estonia. It has yarnovers and nupps - not difficult knitting, but involved. I had some trouble with the yarn when I was winding it, and it was broken in several places. I have two skeins of this yarn, but wanted to use only one as a matter of economy (what could I do with part of a skein of laceweight alpaca?). So I used the broken yarn. But loose ends bother me, and I went to weave them in and trim the excess. Only, I snipped the wrong bit, or snipped it too close, or something, and it unravelled.
I'm sure a highly experienced knitter, or a restoration expert, or even myself with a bit of time and fiddling and cursing and elevated blood pressure, could figure out how to fix this. There's an amazing photo essay online about repairing damaged lace knitting. But I was only 1/3 of the way done with the scarf, and I think it will be less frustrating and heart breaking if I just start over. I do have that second skein, which means plenty of yarn to do it again and do it well.
I was devastated, though. So I came home and cast on a different project:
This is the beginning of the Haruni Shawl, which has been in my queue for a while now. I'm most of the way through the repeats on the first chart, and it's shaping up nicely.
I also made these mitts this Thanksgiving, a quick knit that took me a day:
These are a lovely blue color in a very soft, very warm alpaca yarn. I'm wearing them now! And I specifically made them so that I can wear them while knitting, because the weather is getting colder and we don't like to run the heater all the time.
I'll eventually get back to the lace scarf. For now, it feels good to get the mitts done and worn, and to be working on a shawl project that is a little sturdier.
Here's my latest shawl, finished and blocked a few weeks ago:
It's made of an alpaca/silk blend that makes it very soft and airy, but very warm.
It's a half-circle shawl, which meant I had to knit it back and forth on the needles instead of in the round, which means purl rows instead of knitting only. But it was fun, and came together fairly quickly (for me), and I'm quite pleased with the results. (Those are kiddie chairs above, not full-sized chairs, so the shawl isn't as huge as it looks. It's about 6' across at the widest part.)
This has nothing to do with crafting or cooking, but I want to share my three basic rules for life. I try to live by these, and I try to keep company with others who do too.
RULE ONE: WISYWIG
What You See Is What You Get. Authenticity. Know who you are, Be who you are, and make no apologies for who you are. If you're gonna fly your freak flag, fly it high and fly it proud!
Granted, it can take a lifetime to know who you are, some are lucky enough to figure this out early but I'm still working on it. But I'm trying, and I try to be consistent in who I am. I try not to be Me the Friend, Me the Wife, Me the Momma, Me the Daughter, Me the Sister, etc. I just want to be Me. Authentically Me in all circumstances.
I may not like you much, but if you are authentic in who you are, I will at least respect you. For example, Chef Anne Burrell is a celebrity chef on the Food Network. She is a big, brassy, bold woman with some annoying mannerisms. Some people hate her, I can't tell if she and I would be friends in real life or not, but I like her because she knows who she is and doesn't give a hoot what others think of her.
Of course, the flip side of this is, you can't fly your freak flag and expect me to like and agree with everything you do. That's the catch. Like I said, I don't have to like you, but I'll probably respect you.
RULE TWO: BOUNDARIES
I'm talking about a respect for healthy boundaries, and setting healthy boundaries for yourself. Don't complain about people walking all over you if you've never bothered to tell them to stop - setting boundaries is YOUR job, protecting yourself is YOUR job. My job is to listen to your boundaries and respect them, and understanding there are consequences if I don't.
And vice versa. You don't have to like my boundaries. You don't even have to understand them. But please respect them. I'll extend you the same courtesy.
RULE THREE: DON'T BE A DICK
This is pretty explanatory, and it covers a wide array of situations. I can't claim any credit for this one, I believe Wil Wheaton said it first. But I like it, and I've adopted it.
Did someone write you a heartfelt thank you note, but misspell a word or use one incorrectly? Ignore it. Drawing attention to it, however politely, makes you a dick.
Are you right about an argument that is pretty much insignificant and even your opposing party is losing interest? Drop it. Who cares if you're right, it doesn't really matter and continuing to yammer on about how right you are makes you a dick. No one likes to listen to a dick.
Does everyone around you consider you a dick? Look in the mirror, it might be time for a life change. Either that, or you need new friends.
It covers big, obvious situations, like making a play for your brother's girlfriend. Don't be a dick. She's taken, either move on or wait for a break up. It covers smaller, less-obvious situations, like deciding in the condiment aisle that you don't really want the bread you picked up four rows over and just leaving it on the shelf. Don't be a dick. Someone has to find it and put it away. Either put it back, or give it to the cashier so at least it's not sitting where it doesn't belong.
Some people say "What Would Jesus Do?" (or the more tongue-in-cheek "What Would Brian Boytano Do?") I say, when in doubt, Don't Be A Dick.
So, in summary: Be Authentic, Respect Boundaries, and Don't Be A Dick. I think the world would be a happier, better place to live if we all followed these three rules.